Extramarital dating site to test Korean law

April 2, 2014
This is a captured image of an online dating site Ashley Madison.

This is a captured image of an online dating site Ashley Madison.

By Jung Min-ho

Noel Biderman, the founder of extramarital dating site Ashley Madison, admitted that he is concerned about the Korean law that punishes married people from having extramarital sex.

But as the website begins its Korean services, the country’s allegedly outdated laws might prove to be less of a challenge than the competition that already exists.

Biderman showed confidence for success in Korea, claiming that tens of thousands of Koreans have visited the site even before it began its local service on March 21. Ashley Madison has more than 24 million users globally.

The law will unlikely hinder his business, which just provides a “platform,” Biderman claimed. In comparison with many other dating websites running here, however, Ashley Madison does not seem very competent at this point.

Korean law defines sex outside of a marriage as a crime, which can lead to a prison sentence of up to two years. A person who knowingly has sexual relations with a married person is also liable for prosecution. Since the company is not directly involved in the action, however, it is difficult to punish the company.

However, the Korea Communications Commission may eventually decide to block the website as the Internet law does not allow websites to ”aid or abet crimes.’’ The government in Singapore has banned Internet users from accessing the website.

On the website, only a few female members have posted their pictures. Besides, since the registration process is not strict, users do not have to reveal their real names, jobs or even faces. This means “untrustworthy”: the biggest fear for many users when it comes to online dating.

Selling infidelity is a fresh idea. But there are already a slew of dating services accessible through social media sites such as Facebook and not all of the people who use these services are single. Laws are laws, but there is no way the government can entirely control what people decide to do in bed.

There is a possibly that Ashley Madison could be singled out as a target of protests from civic groups although it may prove to be less competitive than existing dating services.



  1. Keith

    April 8, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    There aren’t dating services accessible through Facebook. What are you talking about?

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