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Line to regulate sending messages by under-18s
Publication Date : 27-09-2013
App provider Line Corp. said it will prohibit Line users under the age of 18 who have a certain type of smartphone from using a Line ID to call or exchange messages with other users, effective on Monday.
Users of the application can communicate for free with others without knowing telephone numbers or e-mail addresses; they only need to exchange Line IDs.
There are many online message boards on which Line users can post their app IDs. However, the National Police Agency believes such message boards have become illicit marketplaces for prostitution.
Therefore, the NPA has demanded three app providers, including Line Corp., take measures to address such situations.
Smartphones subject to the envisaged restrictions are models of NTT Docomo Inc. and SoftBank Mobile Corp., which are run on the Android basic operating system developed by Google Inc., while iPhones from Apple Inc. will be exempted.
Mobile phone operators disclose users’ ages to the app provider. KDDI Corp., the operator of au mobile phone services, took similar measures last December.
There were 117 criminal incidents involving app users under the age of 18 who sent messages and communicated with parties whose IDs they got on online message boards from January to June, according to the NPA. The figure has more than tripled since last year.