South Korea’s New Law Mandates Installation Of Government-Approved Spyware On Teens’ Smartphones
South Korea’s government has mandated that all the teenagers under 19 years of age should install an App called “Smart Sheriff” on their smartphones.
The move is made under the garb of shielding the South Korean children and teenagers from NSFW content but according to experts the features of App provide for the government to spy on these kids through its agencies.
The app, “Smart Sheriff,” is funded by the South Korean government primarily to block access to NSFW and other offensive content online.
Other than that the Smart Sheriff is a full fledged surveillance App. Smart Sheriff and at least 14 other apps allow parents to monitor how long their kids use their smartphones, how many times they use apps and which websites they visit. Some send a child’s location data to parents and issue an alert when a child searches keywords such as “suicide,” ”pregnancy” and “bully” or receives messages with those words.
South Korea’s telecom watchdog, Korea Communications Commission, which has sweeping powers covering the telecommunications industry has mandated that telecoms companies and parents to ensure Smart Sheriff or one of the other monitoring apps is installed when anyone aged 19 years or under gets a new smartphone.
The measure doesn’t apply to old smartphones but most schools sent out letters to parents encouraging them to install the software anyway.
After the KCC order the App has already been downloaded around 500,000 times.