Kakao, LINE may be used by terrorists: Chinese authority

August 7, 2014

By Kang Yoon-seung

LINE, KakaoTalk.

LINE, KakaoTalk.

SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korea said Thursday it confirmed that Chinese authorities had intentionally blocked services of Kakao and LINE mobile messengers on fears of abuse by terrorist groups.

Talks are underway to normalize the services, it said.

“Some of the messenger services in China that spread information linked to terrorists activities were blocked (by the Chinese authority), including Kakao Talk and LINE,” the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said.

“Many terrorist groups in China reportedly spread information on how to make explosives while engaging in propaganda activities through the messengers and video-sharing websites, as well as cloud computing systems,” the ministry said, quoting Chinese authorities.

Other global messengers such as Didi, Talk Box and Vower were also blocked by the authority for the same reasons, it said.

Kakao Talk is operated by South Korea’s Kakao Corp.. Line is run by Japan-based Line Corp., an affiliate of South Korea’s biggest portal Naver.

The ministry said it will continue the talks with its Chinese counterpart to settle the issue.

Access to Kakao Talk and LINE services within mainland China has been disrupted since July 1. Chinese officials had not provided any official explanations or clarifications concerning the blockage.

China tightly controls the Internet. Most online services, such as Google, the world’s biggest search engine, Facebook and Twitter, have been blocked there.

As of this month, Kakao Talk has 152 million users worldwide in 15 languages, including Korean, English, Japanese, Spanish, German, Arabic and Russian. LINE has more than 450 million users around the world.