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New legislation aims to end digital sexual crimes, boost digital signature front

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Online platforms will be legally required to remove digital content involving sexual crimes from their services while the door will be opened for freer competition in the digital signature front under new bills passed by the National Assembly.

The National Assembly's full floor meeting approved a total of 133 bills on the final plenary session of its 20th term on Wednesday. 

The package of bills passed Wednesday most notably includes one on "settling past affairs for truth and reconciliation," which allows reinvestigations into controversial criminal cases from South Korea's tumultuous past.

A number of symbolic bills were also passed into law during the session, including a so-called Nth Room prevention law bill, a revised Digital Signature Act as well as those on shoring up the safety net for employees.

The bill on the revision of the Telecommunications Business Act and the act on communications network, simply called Nth Room prevention law, subjects online platforms to criminal punishment if they do not stop circulation of digital content involving sexual crimes on their platforms.

It also requires the online platforms to appoint a person in charge of preventing such content's circulation.

The enactment was inspired by the "Nth Room" sexual crime case, which rocked the country in recent months. Dozens of victims, including underage girls, were coerced into performing obscene acts in front of cameras and the footage was shared in pay-to-view online clubs on the Telegram messenger app. So far, the police arrested four leading suspects and their co-conspirators and made public the identities of the four main suspects.

Another bill passed Wednesday, a revised Digital Signature Act, will end the monopoly of the so-called official certificate, a format of digital signature serviced by government-recognized institutions such as banks.

Under the current Digital Signature Act, the government recognizes the digital signature format almost exclusively, which has delayed the development of other online signature players.

The revision will put an end to the current regime, opening the door for new digital signature services and free competition among them.

A couple of employment-related bills approved on Wednesday will require employers to provide employment insurance coverage to artists hired for one-time projects and provide legal grounds for the government's new labor system aimed at giving financial support to job seekers from low-income families. (Yonhap)
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