Extra! Korea

March 30, 2009

Google compromises on Internet free speech in S. Korea

Filed under: censorship — extrakorea @ 3:44 am

(from the Hankyoreh newspaper)

Google Korea submits to government’s trend towards curbing Internet freedoms by implementing a “real name system”

Google, the world’s largest Internet company, has finally submitted to South Korea’s unprecedented Internet regulations, including agreeing to implement a “real name” system in which any South Korean can post their contents only after they confirm their resident registration number.

   The company plans to reorganize its site beginning April 1 so that subscribers in South Korea must confirm their real names before posting materials or replies on YouTube Korea. Concurrently April 1 is when the amendment to South Korea’s Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and User Protection will go into effect. It expands the scope of sites subject to the real name registration system to those that have at least 100,000 users per day.

[ snip ]

The head offices of Google have explored various means of bypassing the “real-name registration system,” arguing that freedom of expression should be experienced globally by all users, including proposing to shut down YouTube services in South Korea but to no avail. A representative of Google Korea says that South Korea “is the first country worldwide for which Google will be collecting real-name information that can be used to identify individuals.”

First Minerva, now this. Free speech isn’t absolute, but the Lee Myung-bak administration seems to be a little unclear on the concept of “democracy.”


  1. Are Korea’s regulations really “unprecedented”? I’m asking, not saying, but I imagine that in China they are at least as rigid. But I could be wrong.

    Comment by kushibo — March 30, 2009 @ 9:24 am

    • kushibo:

      Are Korea’s regulations really “unprecedented”? I’m asking, not saying, but I imagine that in China they are at least as rigid. But I could be wrong.

      I’m quite sure that China is more rigid, but South Korea is supposed to be a democracy.

      Comment by extrakorea — March 30, 2009 @ 11:49 am

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