www.groovekorea.com / January 2015 92 Edited by Elaine Ramirez (elaine@groovekorea.com) COmmuNITy Is KakaoTalk secure? W hile Samsung and Apple continue to battle for smart- phone supremacy, the battle for Ko- rea’s chat mes- sages was decid- ed years ago. KakaoTalk is on 93 percent of the nation’s smartphones, about 37 mil- lion Korean users. But while the company seems to have an impenetrable stronghold in both major app stores, hundreds of thou- sands of Koreans have recently jumped ship. Why? Privacy. The newly formed Daum Kakao company said on its blog on Oct. 8 that of the 147 government requests for user information it received from last year through the first half of 2014, it only refused nine requests, a hand-over rate of almost 94 percent. Given that the Park Geun-hye adminis- tration has decided that Internet and social media comments can be considered “def- amation,” it’s been reported that more than 400,000 Koreans have left KakaoTalk since Oct. 1. At the same time, the German-based messag- ing app Telegram, seen by many as a more se- cure option, has gained 1.5 million Korean users, making it one of the most popular smartphone ap- plications in Korea. Groove Korea hit the streets here in Seoul to find out if people were switching over and what they think about government intrusion into their private mes- sages. ‘If it threatens a government so much that they’re willing to violate a person’s freedom, then what kind of country are you living in?’ 20-year-old Korean-American woman Column and Photo by Chance Dorland / Illustration by Darren Farrell MORE KOREANS ARE LEAVING THE MESSAGING App OVER pRIVACy CONCERNS GrooveCast GrooveCast host Chance Dorland hit the streets to get opinions on KakaoTalk and the ongoing issue of digital privacy. Listen to the podcast episode at groovekorea.com or subscribe for free at the iTunes Store. ChANCE ENCOuNTERS