Rescue robots get government support


The Korean government has pledged support for the development of rescue robotic technologies by setting a goal of commercialization by 2022. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said Monday it is reviewing the “public safety robot project” to see if it is viable. The project will focus on developing core technologies related to the rescue robots. Once the project gets the green light, it will support development of various technologies including sensors that operate even in thick smoke, as well as crawler systems.

These technologies will be used in disaster situations such as rescuing people under debris, detecting stranded people in smoke-filled buildings that are on fire, or surveillance of nuclear power plants. Related industries are expected to grow significantly. Citing a study by Homeland Security Search Corporation, the ministry said the world’s disaster rescue industry is expected to double from 372 trillion won ($338 billion) in 2013 to 612 trillion won in 2022. China alone is expected see its market expand from 57 trillion won to 140 trillion won during the same period.

For full article, see Jongang Daily.


State power companies get cybersecurity orders

2015_02_cybersecurityThe Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) says state-run power companies will spend a total of 79 billion won ($71 million) on cybersecurity this year, an increase of 18 billion won. Minister Yoon Sang-jick on Thursday afternoon met with CEOs of 17 state-run energy companies, including the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation (KHNP) and Korea Power Exchange.

Kepco, the nation’s sole power distributor, will get 28.4 billion won and KHNP 11.5 billion won. Each of the other companies will receive up to 4 billion won. The budget will be mostly spent on hiring security experts, maintaining internal network infrastructure and expanding maintenance teams. All 17 power companies will have to structure their internal network in five systems, from the current three.

The current system is broken down into a regular network that can access the Internet, an intranet that mainly deals with document processing, and an exclusive network to control the power plant. From now on, the intranet will have an additional system for confidential technical documents like power plant blueprints. The power plant control system will also be split into two networks to beef up security.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.


Korea to enhance hi-tech war systems

South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Monday unveiled a new defense vision based on information and communication technologies, and other cutting-edge digital platforms to better counter evolving North Korean threats and other security challenges. During its New Year’s policy briefing to President Park Geun-hye, Defense Minister Han Min-koo said the ministry would push to incorporate into military operations innovative technologies such as ICT, big data solutions and the Internet of Things, under the “Creative Defense” vision.

Capitalizing on the country’s technological savviness, the ministry will step up efforts to develop future weapons systems such as combat equipment using laser beams and electromagnetic waves, and unmanned platforms, he said. “In consideration of the limited defense resources and various security threats, we will push to come up with more creative, innovative ways to manage our military, going beyond the old approach that was mainly about catching up with others rather than moving ahead of them,” Han told reporters after the policy briefing at Cheong Wa Dae.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Samsung Electronics to make $1.1 bn investment in Silicon Valley

South Korea’s electronics behemoth Samsung Electronics will create a 1.2 trillion won ($1.1 billion) corporate venture fund in Silicon Valley, the US in a bid to spur technology innovation and explore new growth engines.

Samsung Electronics will make investment in diverse innovation-related projects by forming a Samsung Catalyst Fund worth $100 million, said Young Sohn, chief strategy officer of device solutions at Samsung Electronics during a press conference held at a hotel in California, the US Monday (local time).

Under the new initiative, Samsung will seek M&A (merger & acquisitions) deals with global venture companies by using the existing $1 billion Samsung Ventures America Fund. Its target areas involve cloud computing, the internet of things, mobile security, mobile health and technology with emotional factors. Samsung expects the latest move will put itself in the position of creating new business ecosystem centering on semiconductors and electronic parts.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Cloud computing raises security concerns

Cloud computing is one of the hottest innovations in the information technology industry, including in Korea, seen by many as the next best way to store and manage data. However, industry observers are concerned that it may threaten digital property rights and security of information.

Cloud computing uses servers rather than hardware to store information. Proponents of the method argue that it allows companies or individuals to manage more data better and faster by putting it on a larger virtual server with a bigger capacity.

American technology giants Apple, Microsoft and Google are all investing heavily in developing clouds while Korean firms have shown a keen interest in adapting the new method to their systems.

For full article see Korea Times.

Five-year R&D plan devised to fight bioterrorism

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has laid out plans to strengthen research for action against bioterrorism, an official said Monday.

NIH officials met with technology experts dealing with bioterrorism to set up a five-year plan on research and development (R&D) to effectively tackle the issue.

The institute will step up research on vaccines, cures, diagnoses, detection and research to deter bioterrorism. It will also collect the opinions of experts to draw up the plan which will center on cutting-edge technology such as nano-biotechnology.

The NIH is conducting various research projects such as the development of a gene recombination anthrax vaccine, which is currently in its second stage of clinical trials.

The institute has also developed pathogens likely to cause bioterrorism as well as kits that detects toxins and has used them at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul this March and other large-scale international conferences.

For full article see Korea Times.

Lessons Learned from South Korea’s real-name verification system

In 2002, Korean democracy made headlines around the world when an unknown entrepreuneur launched the world’s first citizen journalism web site OhMyNews, which helped deliver the highest chair in the country to the underdog liberal candidate Roh Moo-hyun.  Roh won the extremely contested election with just half a million votes, through an active online campaign supported and driven by an idealistic and net-savvy youth.  

Since then, the Korean government has had an extremely hands-on approach to governing online expression.  South Korean bureaucracy dealing with controlling online discourse has ballooned since 2003.  After several permutations, South Korea currently has two agencies that monitor online activity during elections, the Internet Election News Deliberation Commission (IENDC) that oversees online press, and the Cyber Censorship Team (CCT), which monitors user-generated content and non-media web sites.  The agencies have the right to remove content at their discretion.  During the 2007 elections, the two agencies removed over 100,000 blog posts, comments, articles and 65,000 videos online.

In 2003, the conservative Grand National Party (GNP) struck back from losing the presidential race by enacting a new law which required online users to verify their real identities before posting comments on election-related web sites.  The legislation’s stated goals were to to promote responsible online discourse and to protect the privacy of candidates, and it has accomplished its purpose to a limited extent.  Yet the greater underlying political motive is clear to see — the conservative party that relies on older, less internet-savvy Koreans wanted to limit the influence of online media on election results.  In 2007, an election year, the proliferation of anonymous online slander was the stated cause for extending the real-name system to web sites with over 300,000 daily visits

For full article see Korea IT Times.

Korea’s Government Integrated Data Center sets a new benchmark on e-Government IT

The number of smartphone users in Korea has now surpassed 20 million. It means 4 out of 10 Koreans are using smartphones. Interactive communication has become a crucial feature of the smart era. At the heart of the trend, there is the cloud computing service. The government judged that it is important for them to keep pace with the public and the current trends in services, and so it decided to introduce a new paradigm, ICT based government service. The idea is to present smart e-government services through the Government Cloud Computing Service (G Cloud).

The Korean government mapped out a plan to provide a cloud and mobile based environment. National Computing & Information Agency (NCIA) set up three goals – transferring 50% of businesses of central government agencies from current systems to a cloud based one, raising open source software adaption rate up to 40% and cutting down operational costs by more than 30%  – to offer the world’s best G Cloud Computing Service.  “To this end, the government is in the process of building a G Cloud platform focusing on putting forth credible services, operational efficiency, introducing more of open source-based standards, to successfully migrate the businesses into new environment.

Over the past six years since its establishment, NCIA has made the e-Government more stable, secure and efficient.  It has also propelled the growth of small and medium-sized IT companies and supports the export activities of the GIDC model.  The Korean G Cloud will be remembered as one of the most successful endeavors of e-government challenges once it is completed.

For full article see Korea IT Times.