South Korea is a country of great highs and lows when we think about internet freedom. On the one hand, it’s safe to say that the country indisputably hosts the world’s fastest internet connections. South Korea’s population is quite dependant on the web, and general government efforts supply this demand. However, if you put the state of South Korean internet into a historical context, you will find that this is one of the countries where past events have a great effect on today’s conditions. Apart from increasing levels of filtering, South Korea also employs selective restriction of content related to Japan and North Korea.
Best VPN Services for South Korea of 2019
|Editor's Choice 2019|
Using a South Korean IP
From a technical perspective, South Korea’s internet is nearly immaculate. With an average download speed of over 22 Mbit/s, other countries are nowhere near. Such a great value is partially possible because of the government’s positive attitude towards internet accessibility. But also because South Korean people mostly live in cities, where it is just easier to supply them with internet; higher population density means less distance to cover. If you plan to connect to the South Korean internet through a VPN connection, you will most probably face little obstacles in terms of speed. Other aspects of the country’s freedom are indeed dodgy, but still, South Korea has the most technically developed internet today.
South Korean Online Privacy Laws
The most important piece of legal background to state for South Korea is that the country employs a three strikes policy. This essentially means that any person using a South Korean IP has three opportunities to defy internet regulations. However, after the third offence, the access to South Korean internet is terminated altogether. Of course, keep in mind that you have to be detected in order to be monitored; using VPN services are a great way of concealing your online identity. For copyright law, there is one very interesting aspect for the country. Freedom of panorama is restricted if the person sells the final product. This means that for example if you take a screenshot of a South Korean piece of art that is on public display within the country’s borders and then reproduce and sell it via “printing, photographing, copying, sound or visual recording, or other means” (Wikimedia, Online) then you break South Korean law.
Internet Censorship in South Korea
This is perhaps the most sensitive area of internet freedom for this country. The history and perceived culture of South Korea has a major effect on its internet censorship. Websites that are sympathetic with North Korea are frequently shut down or banned. Considering that the two countries are effectively still at war, this is not surprising.
However, ties of the past stretch back even further. Japanese online content is not welcome either. South Korea was a subject of annexation and Japanization in the first half of the 20th century. Making explicitly negative remarks about the government is similarly punished. There is also additional general content that is censored. Material categorized as obscene, harmful to minors or promoting sexual violence are restricted. Furthermore, pornography and especially non-heterosexual content is also censored. Since so many of the population use the internet in South Korea, cyber defamation is an active phenomenon. Therefore you will encounter stricter laws on hate speech and defamation than in most countries, to the point of limiting freedom of speech.
Streaming Services in South Korea
Streaming availability in South Korea is not that good. In fact, because of the somewhat unique status as the leader in internet technology and the population relying so heavily on it, South Korea mostly hosts its own streams. Netflix does have foggy plans to introduce service in the country, but other than that, only music streamers with global availability are present in the country besides the local ones. That said, Apple Music is present on the market, and SoundCloud is similarly within reach, though both are selective in what music they air. A prominent South Korean company is Melon for music. Samsung also introduced Milk as their option for streaming in the country. Still, the availability of European and American streams is poor, which makes having a VPN account to access content from abroad indispensable.
Free South Korean VPN Trials
Lastly, we would like to recommend you three VPN services to connect to South Korea. There are quite a few restrictions in effect that even extend into more commonly accessed topics and thus, the first service we advise you to look at is VyprVPN. Not only they are one of the most cost-effective services around, but the company even offers you their own streaming services unblocking solution, VyprDNS. This variant of the SmartDNS is a type of proxy that will bypass restrictions without slowing down streaming all too much. Secondly, we suggest taking a peek at HideMyAss as well. Few VPN providers offer access to this country, but HMA has a near global availability with a server in South Korea, making their services suitable both for local residents and expats. HideMyAss is probably the best general-purpose company for South Korean users. And finally, we are also keen on IronSocket. Focusing on today’s top encryptions, IronSocket is also well-versed in long distance VPN connections and HTTP-SOCKS proxies as well.