South Korea Internet Censorship extended: How can a VPN help

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
Vlad might have a degree in Animal Husbandry and Livestock Management, but he's currently rocking anything software related, ranging from testing programs to writing in-depth reviews about them. He spent 3-4 years as a... Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Whether you're simply visiting South Korea or are currently living there, keeping your online activities private and away from prying eyes should be a priority to you.
  • Currently, millions of South Koreans rely on VPN services to keep their online identity anonymous. However, encrypting your connection and anonymizing your identity aren't the only things a VPN can do for you.
  • Check out our guide on geoblocking and how to circumvent it.
  • Visit our Traveling Hub to learn more about using VPNs in specific regions.
Internet censorship in South Korea

Whether you’re simply visiting South Korea or are currently living there, keeping your online activities private and away from prying eyes should be a priority to you.

Currently, millions of South Koreans rely on VPN services to keep their online identity anonymous.

However, encrypting your connection and anonymizing your identity aren’t the only things a VPN can do for you.

It’s well-known that certain countries, including South Korea, apply Internet censorship. As a result, you can’t access certain websites or online services without proper tools.

A few examples of content that’s downright banned in South Korea are pro-North-Korea and pornography websites.

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South Korea Internet censorship

Due to various acts, bills, legislation, and reforms, South Korea has undergone various stages of Internet censorship. A legal body was created and allowed to monitor the Internet, in order to identify and remove certain content easily.

Several foreign websites were blocked, and users who made unlawful statements were criminally prosecuted. Gradually, more and more websites were censored, and the ICEC (Internet Communications Ethics Committee) engaged in even more advanced monitoring.

One of the reasons behind these censorship actions was the increasing number of cyberbullying cases.

A few years later, the KCSC (Korea Communications Standards Commission) agency was created in order to replace the ICEC.

Subsequently, a law was passed that required websites with more than 100,000 visitors to force their users to register using their social security numbers and real, full names.

Nowadays, reportedly South Korea uses SNI (Server Name Indication) snooping to restrict HTTPS website access.

Are VPNs legal in South Korea?

To put it shortly, yes, you can use VPNs in South Korea as they’re 100% legal. This can come as a surprise, considering that South Korea has strict Internet laws and actively engages in heavy Internet censorship.

Ranging from blocking harmful, subversive content, the KCSC agency also monitors online messages and removes unlawful ones.

Allegedly, the KCSC agency is also allowed to suspend your right to post on the web for 30 days if a complaint is filed, so there’s that.

How can a VPN help bypass Internet censorship in South Korea?

If you’re within South Korea, your ISP might block your attempts to access certain websites or online services. Normally, all your web traffic goes through your ISP’s servers.

Your ISP can see and log everything you do online, which is not exactly ideal, considering that they can hand over the data they have on you if the need arises.

What a VPN does is grabs all your traffic and routes it through its own set of private servers. Additionally, it encrypts all of your communications, so even if someone intercepts your connection, they can’t do much with the data they gather.

Last, but not least, a VPN changes your IP and spoofs your location, so that it appears you’re somewhere else.

When you connect to a VPN server, you get assigned a new IP address, and DNS, along with all the metadata that points to your virtual location.

So, to put it shortly, that’s what a VPN offers you: privacy, security, and geoblock circumvention.

Why use Private Internet Access?

  1. Download Private Internet Access on your PCPrivate Internet Access
  2. Install it
  3. Launch it and log into your PIA account
  4. Choose an appropriate fast server (*)
  5. Connect to it
  6. Check if you’re still subject to Internet censorship

(*) try choosing a server from a country with no censorship (European countries, USA)

Private Internet Access (PIA) is an excellent VPN solution brought to you by Kape Technologies. It can help you tackle a wide variety of issues, ranging from keeping your online identity private, to securing your connection and circumventing geoblocks.

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More so, it can help you with more technical issues, such as improving your ping and decreasing packet loss. However, these fixes will only work if your ISP is the one causing the issues, either by throttling your bandwidth or using an improper routing scheme.

We believe that PIA is the best choice, considering the quality/price ratio, its broad range of features, and the wide network of private servers it shelters.

PIA removed their South Korean presence

Up until 2018, PIA also included some South Korean servers in their network. However, on January 21st 2018, they were tipped that starting with January 24th (same year), law enforcement would pursue mirroring their servers without due process.

As a result, PIA removed the entire South Korea region from their network of servers. The post on PIA’s blog also revealed that no data was compromised in the process, as they don’t log session data or traffic.

Additionally, they’ve rotated their security certificates as a precautionary measure.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, the South Korea government controls various media and blocks any content that might be deemed unlawful. More so, law enforcement agencies can also suspend your right to post if a complaint has been filed against you.

  • Yes, using a VPN is 100% legal in South Korea, despite this country’s strict Internet laws.

  • Using a VPN can help you bypass geo-restrictions, keep your online identity private, secure your connection, and encrypt your communications.

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