Monday, September 22, 2008

Thank God for Small Favors

It seems there is one advantage to having the completely useless foreigner registration number: Google hasn't released it and nobody could use it for anything useful even if somebody got a hold of it.

Google Exposes Thousands of Korean ID Numbers

There's a lot of google-hating going on here in Korea, much of it completely undeserved. The Korean internet is a ghetto where non-Korean search engines are systematically excluded in favor of inferior local search engines (a nightmare for researchers - when I look up stuff online through Google, I'm likely to get pretty similar search results to what I get from yahoo, or ask, or dogpile . . .the rankings or organization might be different, but I'm going to find most of the same stuff. On the other hand, if I'm searching for something in Korean, I'll run it through on Google but then I have to search on Naver or Daum and get totally different results, which is pretty darned annoying to have to do.) The place is littered with active x. But perhaps most vexing, the Korean internet requires your citizen registration number to do anything from set up a blog to shop to make train reservations. All foreigners who are here for more than 90 days have to register and get our own alien registration card and number, but they don't work for anything. I can't make a train reservation (another reason for not making the Chuseok trek to Daegu) or buy movie tickets online or do . . .well, just about anything.
The people to blame for this kind of sensitive personal information getting out and online isn't Google - it's the Korean websites requiring too much information with not enough security. Thank God my information is too worthless to be used for anything.


Anonymous said...

You can make online reservations for the KTX with the ID on your ARC, although you have to know some Korean.

Gomushin Girl said...

I've already checked that, and it seems like it *should* work but I've never had any success at it, nor anybody else with one. There are lots of places it ought to work, theoretically, but it seldom does. I've tried, believe me, I've tried.

Gomushin Girl said...

Ok, I spent a good chunk of time on the Korail website today, chasing down the rumored login number that I as a foreigner can use to make reservations. Well, after filling out endless forms and information, I went today to go make a reservation online for a trip this weekend . . .and . . .

The process, which didn't work anyway, involved not "some" Korean, but a lot of Korean. Most foreigners are NOT going to be able or willing to go through the bother of signing up. Those that do, like me, may still not be able to use the service. In other words, Korail and the entire Korean internet system can bite me.