The Korea Herald


Korea to digitize personal seals, enhance online gamer protection

By Lee Jung-joo, Park Jun-hee

Published : Jan. 30, 2024 - 16:23

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President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a debate session with the public on people's livelihood issues, Tuesday. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a debate session with the public on people's livelihood issues, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Tuesday vowed to improve services in digital government administration, online gaming and telemedicine by removing organizational hassle, enhancing protections for gamers and improving the welfare of the people.

The plan involves digitizing necessary documents for approximately 1,500 administrative services within the next three years and creating digital stamps in lieu of traditional personal seals, which have been in use in South Korea for 110 years.

In cases where personal seals are not deemed to be necessary, personal identification cards, certificates of family relations and resident registration certificates will be used instead.

“Although we have established excellent digital government systems, there are still several areas that need to be altered when it comes to people’s convenience,” said Yoon during the 7th government debate with the public on people's livelihoods.

With more than 700 million civil documents issued to citizens every year, the government anticipates saving up to 1.2 trillion won ($903 million) in costs every year by digitalizing the documents that were initially required to be submitted in person.

For example, couples who wish to apply to receive monetary aid for infertility treatment will no longer be required to submit documents such as the resident registration certificate and a health insurance payment confirmation certificate. Such cases accounted for an average of 300,000 per year.

“Our digital government has been recognized as an ideal model by the international community, as it received the No. 1 ranking among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in 2023,” said Vice Minister Ko Ki-dong of the Ministry of Interior and Safety.

“By becoming a country that leads in digitalization, we will provide more convenient administrative services for citizens by utilizing governmental data and information.”

Additionally, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism decided to gradually transfer game content classification rights to the private sector, and entrust the Game Content Rating Board to review mobile games, in addition to its current role of monitoring computer and console games for ages 12, 15 and up.

To improve the rights and interests of game users, the standard terms and conditions for online and mobile games will be supplemented, and the E-Commerce Act will be revised to allow consumers to receive prompt assistance when they suffer damages from game companies.

To prevent mobile gaming apps from discontinuing their services shortly after the game’s release, a refund process of at least 30 days before discontinuation will be required, and "consensual payment" will be introduced under the E-Commerce Act to relieve damages caused by gaming companies.

“As games have grown into a representative leisure culture enjoyed by people of all ages, protecting the rights of gamers is an essential policy for citizens,” said Jeon Byung-geuk, the first vice minister of the Culture Ministry. “The government will actively begin to protect gamers so that they no longer go through difficulties due to gaming industries’ unfair policies.”

In an effort to help people access the quality health services they need, when and where they need them, the Health Ministry said it would expand telemedicine services, responding to a dual-income request to increase the number of non-face-to-face clinical services during the debate.

Aimed at improving care coordination, the ministry will increase the use of health information exchanges to streamline the sharing of patient medical records, such as sharing CT scans when moving to another hospital, so that patients don’t have to submit relevant health data on paper.

In addition, the ministry will expand the number of medical institutions connected to the system from the current 8,600 to 9,400 this year.

“(The ministry) will institutionalize non-face-to-face consultations to seek convenience between clinicians and patients, push forward with good data usage policies to enhance public health infrastructure by increasing investment in health and medical data and enacting the digital health care law,” said Second Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Park Min-soo.