Mobile Porn Crackdown in South Korea

Michael Hayes
SEOUL — In one of the largest crackdowns on mobile porn, police in South Korea have charged mobile operators and their content providers with selling obscene material over mobile phone networks.

According to cyber crime investigators from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, as many as 46 companies may have violated national obscenity laws. The police, who discovered nearly 6,000 lewd files, have detained 50 employees from the companies for further questioning.

Chief among the companies implicated was SK Telecom, the nation’s largest provider. According to police estimates, the company earned approximately 41 percent of its revenue from selling obscene content.

KFT and LG Telecom, the nation’s No. 2 and No. 3 carriers, respectively, also face allegations of profiting from distribution of obscenity.

The obscene content in question involved stories of incest, sexual deviance and sexual harassment in the office, police said.

“The nation's mobile operators have neglected their duty to uphold social ethics and responsibility,” a police spokesman said.

While the mobile industry in Korea had been content to blame the problem of obscenity on content providers, police believe that is an excuse that will no longer hold water. According to police, mobile carriers knew full well that they were distributing obscenity on their networks because they admitted to being warned by a state-run watchdog group.

Still, officials from mobile operators point out that they lack legal recourse to reject content providers who continually post illegal material that can be accessed via mobile Internet devices.