The LINE official blog has announced a shutoff of ID search capabilities for users under 18 years of age in Japan. Protecting minors appears to the purpose behind the announcement.
The restrictions started on December 20th, with users on the AU mobile network being affected first. In order to determine the user's age, LINE is using the birthdate information held by AU from when the user signed their phone contract, so it'll be pretty difficult to get around the restrictions.
Here's a summary of how users are affected by the changes:
- -Cannot use ID search
- -IDs for minors do not show up in search results
- -Under privacy settings, the "allow for ID to show up in search results" is automatically set to "off"
From now on, it looks like the best way to exchange contact info with friends is through the shake feature or by syncing with your phone book.
Quite a big change to the LINE rules, but if that's what's necessary to protect our youth against the bad people of the world, then so be it. Users for non-AU carriers should see the restrictions coming into effect sometime in the near future.
While this may clean LINE up a bit and make it a safer place, a number of people may get annoyed and end up jumping ship to similar services such as comm.
Translation by Jason Morgan