By Do Je-hae
Starting September, overseas Koreans will be able to join online membership with Web sites of state-run organizations by submitting an Internet personal identification number (I-PIN) instead of the traditional resident registration number (RRN), given only to those holding Korean citizenship over the age of 19.
In addition, students of elementary, middle and high schools who are not eligible for RNN registration will be able to use the I-PIN as an alternative to apply for online membership at such sites.
The Ministry of Public Administration and Security announced Wednesday the expansion of the existing I-PIN services to include overseas Koreans and young students by providing them with an online ID number at the government I-PIN center at www.g-pin.go.kr.
For overseas Koreas, registration is possible through submission of their passport information. Underage citizens will need their parents' registration numbers.
With the new initiative, a visiting Korean-American high school student in Busan, for example, can apply for a culture course provided by the city administration on its Web site.
When joining Korean web sites, applicants are normally required to submit their RRN. ``This has been a nuisance, particularly for those without proper domestic citizen registration which would provide them with an RRN,'' said a ministry official.
Also, some have contended that the mandatory submission of RRN constitutes an infringement of privacy.
In consideration of these problems, the Korean government introduced last August a system providing online personal ID numbers for use at Web sites operated by central and local governments. Currently, online services of 700 public organizations are accessible through the submission of the I-PIN.
The government will increase the number of participating organizations to 2,000 to include state enterprises, schools and organizations affiliated with local administrations.