Searching For An Adult Topic? You’ll Have To Prove Your Age To Google Korea

Google Korea to censor search results from InfoWorld reports that Google Korea — like other search engines in the country — will require people to prove their age in order to get back unfiltered results for certain searches.

Those searching for any of about 700 terms judged to be adult in nature by the Korean government will be required to enter their name and national resident registration number. If they are under 19, results will be filtered.

Google Korea hopes to go live with this new feature by September 1, 2007.

Postscript: We sent the following questions to Google and received these responses:

1) What prompted this? complies with local Korean laws and regulations on juvenile protection from adult content. The government requires all search engines/portals to implement a process to protect minors from adult content.

2) Do other search engines indeed have to do the same?

All local portals have implemented the age verification process to comply with Korean law on juvenile protection from adult content. The words for adult content are recommended by the government to all portals/search engines.

3) Does this mean you’ll real time verify the information?

The database for age verification is provided by 3rd party agencies which are endorsed by the government. All Internet sites use the same agencies. The database information is regularly refreshed by the agencies.

4) Will it be stored somehow so people don’t have to reenter?

Once a user has been verified as an adult, the user does not have to go through the verification process again. The local portals use the same process.

5) Does this happen only on Google Korea?

Yes, it affects only

Postscript Barry 3/14/08: Age Verification at Google Korea from Google Operating System shows a step by step screen capture of how the age verification process works at Google Korea.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: Outside US | Legal: Censorship | Search Features: Safety


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  •,,2044595,00.html Seth Finkelstein

    Maybe (South) Korea does things differently, but that sounds like a HUGE incentive for identity-theft. In the US, one of the problems with using credit-card numbers for age verification is that it gives yet another incentive to steal them. But you can, with hassle, change a credit-card number if it’s misused. Seems like creating this problem with national id numbers would be a very bad idea.

  • michaelzimmer

    My concern is whether the national ID number is logged with every search. By saying “the user does not have to go through the verification process again” does Google mean that a simple flag that “user is old enough” is associated with the cookie/IP, or the actual ID number? If the latter, this is a significant threat to user privacy and autonomy.

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