Former CEO and co-founder to leave Kakao over circulation of child pornography

South Korean mobile messenging operator Kakao has announced that co-founder Lee Seok-Woo will leave the company on Saturday after being indicted without detention last week for neglecting the circulation of child pornography on the instant messaging app.

A spokesperson for Kakao Corporations said Lee, who has worked in an advisory role since August, “would like to take on new challenges.”

Last week’s indictment was the first time the South Korean authorities had charged an online industry insider with violating their Protection of Children and Juveniles from Sexual Abuse Act.

The company indicated it had taken steps to tackle illegal material."We are making a genuine effort, by scanning for keywords, looking for malicious links, and allowing users to report objectionable material," the company told the Hankyoreh news site last week.

"But requiring us to filter out even more obscene material on a private service necessarily implies a degree of censorship that would infringe on the privacy of users."

Kakao has been criticised in the past for not protecting user information which caused them to do a U-turn in October and announce it would stop complying with wiretapping warrants.

The indictment will likely raise concerns at other chat apps, which have also had problems tackling youngsters swapping sexually explicit images of themselves and others.

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