#Mail: An Weird Service From S.Korean Government

Have you ever heard about the “#mail”?

South Korean government announced this specified email service,#(Sharp)mail, in 2012. After 1 year 14,000 accounts are registered to use the service as of September 2013. The concept of #mail is similar as the De-Mail of Germany.

De-mail is a German E-Government communications service that makes it possible to exchange legal electronic documents between citizens, agencies, and businesses over the Internet.

Korean government gave its exclusive rights of the service to 7 providers such as SK Telecom, KOSCOM, Upostbank, and 4 players in South Korea. The #mail address is simple. Instead of using @, this service uses #. Philip#techrux.net shall be the #mail address.

If this was the first email service like late 90’s then this #Mail could have been spread to a lot of users. However there are a lot of alternatives like Gmail. So 0.03% of total population in South Korea has the accounts. To raise the accounts number #mail providers are making obligation to let the users to use #mail account.

If somebody wants to apply for SK telecom, SK broadband, or SK securities, them the applicants may use the #mail account. Also for reserved army in Korea, Korean Army is using #mail to notify the training schedule to the veterans. In this way South Korean government think that the usage rate shall be raised. But there are 3 issues.

1. Different Protocol
The ordinary email account like Gmail or Microsoft Exchange is using SMTP, POP3, or IMAP as the protocol. However #Mail uses HTTP and ebMS as the protocol for the service.

2. Not secured Website
By the Opennet, if you access the address (www.docuon.co.kr ) you may see the warning from the website. You can see the same warning if you access www.docusharp.com

3. Active X based certificate tool
To read the message or send the message, the service obliged the users to be certified and identified. You can use your mobile phone device or Active X based personal certificate plug-in. If you have your private mobile phone device, then you don’t need the certificate plug in.

However if you are using enterprise account for the mobile phone service, then you need to install Active X file on Internet Explorer web browser. Or if you are Mac OSX user, then you need Microsoft Windows on your Mac.

It would be simple if the service has OTP application like Gmail instead of #Mail itself. But they are walking through a long and wrong way. Shall it be a new era for email service, or shall it shift Korean Internet environment as a Galapagos Island. You should see.

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