South Korea's main financial regulator on Thursday ordered Apple to adopt a Korean payment system for its online store. The Financial Supervisory Service ordered KG Inicis, the payment gateway service provider for Apple's iTunes store, to adopt a public key certificate for transactions worth US $268 (300,000 Korean won) or more.
Starting Thursday, users buying items valued over 300,000 won on Apple Store via major Web browsers ― including Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Google's Chrome ― will have to use the certificate, said an official from the financial regulator.
The FSS official said that KG Inicis "has held off development of the certificate-based system for those browsers despite being mindful of their wrongdoings." He added that financial regulators are investigating the breach of regulation, and that they would consider taking action against KG Inicis depending on the result of the probe.
The public key certificate is a home-grown security solution for online transactions ― a state-initiated system imposed on e-commerce companies in South Korea only. Most foreign sites, like Amazon, do not require this type of additional security certificate.
Korea's online regulations require that certificates should be issued for any transaction worth more than 300,000 won, but Apple Store has often been mentioned as one of a handful of exceptions to the regulation. It is uncertain why the FSS has opted to take action now, after years of inaction on Apple's online store.
For other platforms that allow users to access Apple Store, namely iOS and Apple's Macintosh operating system, the FSS has granted a grace period to avoid causing inconvenience to Apple's online customers.
The public key certificate is a type of digital document technology that enables online transactions. It was originally designed to protect personal data, but many experts have raised doubts about its capacity to prevent online theft.
KAIST professor Lee Min-hwa had said that Korea's dependence on the public key certificate