Back in the late 1990s, South Korea built its online financial network around Internet Explorer and the plug-in ActiveX, which is only supported by Internet Explorer. Fast-forward to 2017, and Internet Explorer is on life support, while many other browsers are now available for computer users who want to conduct e-commerce transactions such as online banking and shopping. At least one candidate for South Korea's presidency, Moon Jae-in, running to replace the disgraced President Park Geun-hye, has proposed abolishing a law that has forced South Koreans to use this now-brittle software and cyber-security framework since the late 1990s. South Korea is one of the few countries in which Internet Explorer is still in widespread use, with Japan and Greenland among the other holdouts.
The dark ages of digital innovation:
- Ironically, South Korea is known for digital innovation, with a 4G LTE network that reaches into Seoul’s subway system. But this tech-savvy country is stuck in a time warp with its dependence on Internet Explorer.
- An alarming number of public agency websites are still only accessible with IE, including the portals for tax filing, pensions, national health insurance, employment insurance, and immigration requests.
- In the 1990s, the National Tax Service invested huge sums of money to build its infrastructure around Internet Explorer. There weren’t many users of Chrome, Firefox, Safari or other browsers in 1999, so the agency went all-in on Internet Explorer.