Google stops YouTube uploads and comments in South Korea
by Matthew Humphries posted on April 14, 2009 9:31 am
You may have heard about the new Cyber Defamation Law that came into being across South Korea at the start of April. The law was rushed out after the suicide of the well-known 39-year-old South Korean actress Choi Jin-sil who had been subjected to malicious online rumors. The solution in the eyes of the South Korean government was to force everyone to use their real names on the Internet when posting content or commenting.
The law ultimately forces Google to go through the process of re-registering all users in South Korea. So instead, they have decided to take a different approach and turn off the ability to upload new videos or comment on existing ones if you are registered as living in that area of the world.
This may seem extreme, but Google has pointed to a workaround for users. All they have to do is change their YouTube preferences to state they do not live in South Korea and video uploading and commenting can resume. Google stays within the law as technically South Koreans can’t use the service, but still allows the video site to function for all.
Read more at PC Advisor
You have to wonder how long such a wrokaround is going to remain unnoticed by the South Korean government. Google is a high-profile company wherever you are in the world so it won’t take long for this news to get around. The other side effect it may have is other websites using the same tactic allowing users to register as living elsewhere.
I think the law itself is going a bit too far and having to identify yourself everywhere you visit online is not only undesirable for users, but could end up being more dangerous. Having to show your true identity isn’t going to stop all cyber bullying or rumors spreading, and if individuals can stillremain anonymous on some sites like YouTube then it will continue as normal.