Article 1. Purpose
The purpose of this Law is to contribute to the national economy by clarifying the legal effect of transactions by means of electronic messages so as to ensure the security and reliability thereof and to secure fair trade, and further by establishing sound and orderly transactions, and promoting electronic commerce.
Article 2. Definitions
The terms used herein are defined as follows:
1. "Electronic message" shall mean information generated, sent, received or stored by electronic or similar means using electronic data processing devices including computers (hereinafter referred to as the "information system");
2. "Originator" of an electronic message shall mean a person by whom, or on whose behalf, the electronic message purports to have been generated and sent;
3. "Addressee" of an electronic message shall mean a person who is intended by the originator to receive the electronic message;
4. "Electronic commerce" shall mean a transaction using an electronic message which deals with the whole or part of trading of goods or services;
5. "Digital signature" shall mean a seal affixed in a digital form which is to identify the originator of an electronic message, and to indicate that the electronic message was generated by the originator;
6. "Cyber mall" shall mean a virtual shopping mall established to trade goods or services using information technology facilities as well as the information systems;
7. "Certification authority" shall mean a person who identifies the user of a digital signature and conducts other related business upon request;
8. "Authorized certification authority" shall mean a certification authority authorized pursuant to Article 16.
Article 3. Scope
This Law shall apply to all tradings and transactions using electronic messages.
Article 4. Variation Subject to Electronic Interchange Agreement
The provisions under Articles 9 through 12 may be modified by an agreement between the originator and the addressee except as otherwise provided in other laws and decrees.
Article 5. Validity of Electronic Messages
An electronic message shall not be denied effectives or validity relative to other forms of paper-based messages, on the grounds that it is in the electronic form except as specifically provided in any other laws.
Article 6. Validity of Digital Signatures
(1) A digital signature certified by the authorized certification authority pursuant to Article 16 shall be deemed as a valid signature or seal as prescribed by the relevant laws, except as provided otherwise.
(2) An electronic message with a digital signature affixed in accordance with Paragraph (1) shall be presumed to have been in its maintained unchanged substance after the originator affixed the signature.
Article 7. Admissibility of Electronic Messages as Evidence
An electronic message shall not be denied admissibility in evidence in litigation or any other legal proceedings on grounds that it is in the electronic form.
Article 8. Retention of Electronic Messages
(1) Where an electronic message satisfies the following conditions, the requirement that certain documents or records be retained as set forth in the relevant laws may be regarded as having been met by the retention of the electronic message:
1. the information contained therein is accessible;
2. the electronic message is retained in the format in which it was generated, sent or received, or in a format which can be demonstrated to accurately represent the information generated, sent or received; and
3. such information, if any, is retained to enable the identification of the origin and destination of the electronic message and the date and time when it was sent or received.
(2) A certain message may not be deemed as an electronic message under Paragraph (1) regarding the portions required only for the dispatch or receipt thereof.
Article 9. Time and Place of Dispatch and Receipt of Electronic Messages
(1) The dispatch of an electronic message shall be deemed to occur when it enters an information system outside the control of the originator or of the person who sent the electronic message on behalf of the originator.
(2) The receipt of an electronic message is deemed to occur:
1. at the time when the electronic message enters the designated information system if the addressee has designated an information system for the purpose of receiving electronic messages; provided, however, that at the time when the electronic message is retrieved by the addressee the electronic message is sent to an information system of the addressee that is not the designated information system; or
2. at the time when the electronic message enters an information system of the addressee if the addressee has not designated an information system.
(3) An electronic message is deemed to be sent or received at the place where the originator or the addressee has its place of business; provided however, that, if the originator or the addressee has more than one place of business, the place of business is that which has the closest relationship to the underlying transaction or where there is no underlying transaction, the principal place of business; provided further, however, that if the originator or the addressee does not have a place of business, reference is to be made to its normal place of residence.
Article 10. Where the Originator is Deemed to Have Sent Electronic Messages
An electronic message is deemed to be sent by the originator if it was sent by a person who has been authorized to act on behalf of the originator, or by an information system or any other electronic means programmed by, or on behalf of, the originator to operate automatically; provided however, that the following case does not apply thereto:
1. where the addressee has received notice from the originator that the electronic message was sent against the intention of the originator either at the same time as, or within a reasonable time after, the receipt thereof; or
2. where the addressee used any agreed upon confirmation procedure, or knew or should have known, had it exercised reasonable care, that the electronic message was sent against the intention of the originator.
Article 11. Individuality of the Electronic Message Received
The electronic message shall be deemed to be individual for each message received provided, however, that such individuality does not apply where the addressee used any agreed upon confirmation procedure, or knew or should have known, had it exercised reasonable care, that the identical electronic message was sent repeatedly.
Article 12. Acknowledgement of Receipt
(1) Where the originator has requested the acknowledgement of receipt of a sent electronic message, but fails to designate the communication method, the addressee shall provide an acknowledgement of receipt thereof in such a manner as the originator may be fully informed.
(2) Where the originator has sent the electronic message stating that it is conditional on receipt of the acknowledgement, the electronic message shall be deemed as if it had never been sent, until the acknowledgement is received by the originator.
(3) Where the originator has requested the acknowledgement of receipt of the electronic message without stating that it is conditional on receipt of the acknowledgement, the originator may withdraw the dispatch of the electronic message unless it receives the acknowledgement thereof within a reasonable time, or within the time specified by the originator, or as agreed upon by the originator and the addressee.
Article 13. Privacy, Etc.
(1) The following persons (hereinafter referred to as the "electronic traders") shall indicate the purpose to the person whose personal information, if any, the electronic traders may collect in conducting electronic commerce or related services:
1. the electronic trading partners;
2. the certification authority; or
3. the provider of services with respect to usage of information technology facilities or information systems.
(2) The electronic traders shall not use, nor provide to any third party, the personal information collected through electronic commerce beyond the alleged purpose for collection thereof without prior consent of the person of such information or except as specifically provided in any other law; provided however, that it does not apply where the electronic traders solicit a person to deliver goods or services and provide the deliverer with necessary information for the purpose of delivery thereof.
(3) The electronic traders shall take security measures to prevent improper access, use or leakage of information which they have processed, sent or stored.
(4) The electronic traders shall accept without delay a demand by the subject of such personal information as managed for access to relevant information, and promptly take necessary measures where such a person furnishes substantial evidence and applies for the revision or deletion of erroneous data.
Article 14. Security of Information Systems
(1) The electronic traders shall take protective measures to ensure the security of the information system used for electronic commerce.
(2) Where the electronic traders entrust another person to operate the information systems, the party which can ensure the optimum level of security shall be entrusted. In so doing, if there occurs a breakdown due to the negligence of such trustee, the electronic traders shall notify the counterparty of the breakdown and promptly remedy such breakdown.
Article 15. Cyber Mall Operator
(1) The cyber mall operator shall be equipped with facilities necessary for the operation and management thereof.
(2) The cyber mall shall indicate the trade name of the operator, including the name of the representative in case of a legal entity, address, telephone number, etc., in such a manner so as to enable easy recognition by users.
Article 16. Authorized Certification Authority
(1) The government may designate an authorized certification authority to ensure the security and reliability of electronic commerce and to promote sound transactions thereof pursuant to Article 4 of the Digital Signature Act.
(2) The authorized certification authority shall issue a certificate to certify the identity of the originator of an electronic message and other important attributes relating to the transaction.
Article 17. Management of Certification Authorities
The government shall adopt the necessary policy with respect to the operation of the certification authorities so as to protect participants in electronic commerce and to promote such transactions.
Article 18. Use of Cryptography
(1) The electronic traders may use the cryptography to ensure the security and reliability of electronic commerce.
(2) The government may restrict the use of encryption technology where it is deemed necessary for national security, etc., and take any necessary measures to gain access to the original of encoded information or encryption technology.
Article 19. Establishment of the Policy to Promote Electronic Commerce
The government shall adopt necessary policy measures based on such principles as encouraged private sector initiative, minimized government restrictions, the enhanced reliability of electronic commerce, strengthening of international cooperation in the area of electronic commerce, etc.
Article 20. Formulation/Implementation of Electronic Commerce Promotion Program
(1) The government shall formulate and implement an action program (hereinafter referred to as the "Promotion Program") in order to promote electronic commerce, which contains the following:
1. framework of the policy to promote electronic commerce;
2. matters concerning international norms and rules with respect to electronic commerce;
3. matters concerning the electronic payment system;
4. matters to protect intellectual property rights;
5. matters to protect the interests of electronic traders, including but not limited to, consumer protection, privacy, dispute settlement, etc.;
6. matters to ensure the security and reliability of electronic commerce, including but not limited to, digital signature, certification, cryptography, etc.;
7. matters concerning the development and standardization of information technology with respect to electronic commerce;
8. matters to further promote environments for, and to create demand for, electronic commerce;
9. matters concerning international cooperation with respect to electronic commerce;
10. matters to support the build-up of the infrastructure necessary to promote electronic commerce;
11. matters to establish high-speed telecommunication networks and to facilitate the use thereof; and
12. other matters necessary to promote electronic commerce.
(2) The head of the relevant government ministry shall formulate the action program in each sector under his or her control, and consider the same in policy making and implementation thereof.
(3) When the Minister of Industry and Energy formulates the Promotion Program, this Program shall combine the action programs of each relevant government ministry subject to the deliberation of the Policy Committee on Electronic Commerce in accordance with Article 21 hereof, and it shall be concluded at the Informationization Committee in accordance with Article 8 of the Framework Law on the Promotion of Informationization.
Article 21. Policy Committee on Electronic Commerce
(1) The Policy Committee on Electronic Commerce (hereinafter referred to as the "Policy Committee") shall be established to deliberate matters to promote electronic commerce.
(2) The Policy Committee shall deliberate the following:
1. matters concerning the Promotion Program;
2. matters concerning the performance evaluation of the Promotion Program;
3. matters concerning the policy to promote electronic commerce or the coordination of programs of the relevant government ministries; or
4. other matters submitted for deliberation by the Chairman thereof as major policy issues to promote electronic commerce.
(3) Other necessary matters relating to the composition and operation of the Policy Committee shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
Article 22. Korea Institute for Electronic Commerce
(1) The Korea Institute for Electronic Commerce (hereinafter referred to as the "KIEC") shall be established for the efficient and systematic implementation of projects and businesses to promote electronic commerce.
(2) The KIEC shall be a juridical person, and become incorporated after registration at the place of its main office.
(3) The KIEC shall conduct the following relating to electronic commerce:
1. domestic and world-wide research, publishing, public relations and promotional businesses;
2. institutional research and other businesses to enhance the promotional environments;
3. research and development of information standards and distribution thereof;
4. supporting projects for the development of information technology;
5. participation in international conferences on standardization, international exchange of human resources, and international cooperation;
6. processing the assignments of the Korea EDI Committee in accordance with Paragraph (2) of Article 23; and
7. other businesses entrusted by the heads of the relevant government ministries.
(4) The electronic traders may contribute to the KIEC to reimburse the expenses incurred to conduct the activities of the KIEC.
(5) The KIEC may collect fees from the users of the information standards developed by the KIEC pursuant to provisions by Presidential Decree.
(6) The relevant provisions of the Civil Code with respect the foundation apply mutatis mutandis to the KIEC except as otherwise provided herein.
Article 23. Standardization of Electronic Commerce
(1) The government shall implement the following measures pursuant to the relevant laws in order to promote electronic commerce and to secure the interchangeability of related information technologies:
1. establishment, revision, repeal and distribution of standards with respect to electronic messages;
2. research and development of domestic and foreign standards relating to electronic commerce; and
3. other matters necessary to standardize electronic commerce.
(2) The Korea EDI Committee shall be established pursuant to Presidential Decree so as to research and deliberate the standardization of electronic messages as prescribed in Subparagraph 1 of Paragraph (1).
(3) The government may have relevant research institutes and non-government organizations to act on its behalf, if necessary, to implement efficiently the matters as set forth in each Subparagraph of Paragraph (1). In such case, it may reimburse the expenses incurred in doing so pursuant to the Presidential Decree.
Article 24. Development of Information Technology
The government shall implement the following measures pursuant to the relevant laws and decrees so as to develop the information technology necessary to promote electronic commerce and to enhance technical standards:
1. research technical standards relating to electronic commerce, research and development of information technology and practical use of the developed technology;
2. technological cooperation and transfer of technology relating to electronic commerce;
3. facile distribution of technology information relating to electronic commerce; and
4. other necessary matters for the development of information technology relating to electronic commerce.
Article 25. International Cooperation on Electronic Commerce
The government may support such projects or businesses as international exchange of the relevant technologies and human resources, international standardization, and international joint activities in research and development so as to promote the international cooperation relating to electronic commerce.
Article 26. Electronic Commerce Service Center
(1) The Minister of Industry and Energy may designate an institute as the Electronic Commerce Service Center (hereinafter referred to as the "EC Service Center"), to conduct supportive business, including education and training, technical guidance and provision of information so as to promote electronic commerce.
(2) The government may subsidize the whole or part of the expenses incurred by the EC Service Center for activities relating to electronic commerce within budge any limits.
(3) Any necessary matters concerning the designation of the EC Service Center, criteria for the withdrawal of such designation, subsidization of expenses, etc., shall be set forth in the Presidential Decree.
Article 27. Subsidy to Electronic Commerce-Related Legal Entities or Organizations
(1) The government may subsidize part of the costs incurred by legal entities or organizations established for the promotion of electronic commerce within budge any limits, for implementation of projects to build up the infrastructure necessary to promote electronic commerce under the Promotion Program.
(2) The State or the local self-governing bodies may provide tax benefits, such as tax exemptions, as set forth in the Tax Exception Restriction Act, Local Tax Act and other tax-related laws in order to promote electronic commerce.
Article 28. Dispute Settlement Relating to Electronic Commerce
The government shall prepare policy measures necessary for the establishment and operation of the dispute settlement body and the settlement of disputes arising from electronic commerce in order to remedy damages resulting from improper electronic trading and to establish optimum electronic commerce practices.
Article 29. Responsibility to Protect Consumers
The government shall prepare necessary policy measures to protect consumers' basic rights and interests relating to electronic commerce pursuant to the relevant laws and decrees including the Consumer Protection Act.
Article 30. Provision of Information to Consumers, Etc.
(1) The government shall inform consumers and users of major policies, decisions, etc., with respect to electronic commerce related to consumers' interest.
(2) The electronic traders, cyber mall operators, etc., shall accept and cooperate with demands for necessary information by consumer protection organizations to conduct consumer protection activities.
Article 31. Remedy for Consumers' Loss
(1) The government shall be prepared to take any necessary measures so as to fairly and promptly address consumers' claims and damages resulting from electronic commerce.
(2) The Consumers' Damage Compensation Standards in accordance with Paragraph 2 of Article 12 of the Consumer Protection Act shall apply to electronic commerce hereof.
Article 32. Establishment of Damage Compensation Body
The electronic traders and cyber mall operators, etc., shall establish and operate the appropriate body to receive consumers' reasonable critical opinions or claims, and prvide compensation for damages resulting from electronic commerce; provided however, that this shall not apply where the Damage Compensation Body has been established in accordance with Paragraph 1 of Article 17 of the Consumer Protection Act.
Article 33. Delegation/Entrust of Authority
The authority of the Minister of Industry and Energy may be partially delegated to the head of the institution concerned or local self-governing body, or entrusted to the head of the relevant government ministry pursuant to Presidential Decree.
Article 34. Reciprocity
Foreign citizens and foreign legal entities shall be protected under this Law or treaties to which the Republic of Korea has acceded or contracted; provided however, that the protection of foreign citizens and foreign legal entities in accordance with this Law or treaties to which the Republic of Korea has acceded or contracted may be restricted proportionately against countries not providing similar protection to the citizens and legal entities of the Republic of Korea.
Article 1. Enforcement Date
This Law shall become effective as of July 1, 1999.
Article 2. Transitional Measures Concerning the Korea EDI/EC Board
(1) The Korea EDI/EC Board. (hereinafter referred to as the "KEB") which was established pursuant to Article 32 of the Civil Code as of the enforcement date hereof may, subject to the decision of the Board of Directors thereof, request the approval of the Minister of Industry and Energy that the KEB's rights, interests and obligations as a whole be succeeded to the KIEC to be incorporated pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Article 22.
(2) The KEB, having obtained approval upon request in accordance with Paragraph (1), shall be deemed to be dissolved at the same time as the incorporation of the KIEC under this Law, notwithstanding the provisions concerning the dissolution and liquidation of a juridical person in the Civil Code, and all the rights, interests and obligations belonging to the KEB shall be deemed to have been succeeded by the KIEC to be incorporated under this Law.
Article 3. Transitional Measures Concerning Standardization of Electronic Messages
Electronic Message Standards, which have been deliberated and established by the Korea Industrial Information EDI Committee in accordance with Paragraph (6) of Article 7 of the Act Concerning Build-up of Industrial Technology Infrastructure as of the enforcement date hereof shall be deemed to have been deliberated and established by the Korea EDI Committee in accordance with Paragraph (2) of Article 23 hereof.
Article 4. Transitional Measures Concerning Designation of EC Service Center
The institution which has been designated as an electronic service center in accordance with Article 7-2 of the Act Concerning Build-up of Industrial Technology Infrastructure as of the enforcement date hereof shall be deemed to be designated as the EC Service Center in accordance with Paragraph (1) of Article 26 hereof.
Article 5. Revision of Other Laws
The provisions of the Act Concerning Build-up of Industrial Technology Infrastructure shall be amended as follows:
Subparagraph 5 of Article 2, Paragraph (6) of Article 7 and Article 7-2 are deleted.
(It was translated by the author in February 1999 at the request of the authorities concerned.)