중앙데일리

ID number rule up for Web posters

June 28,2007
Is Big Brother looking over the shoulders of Korean Web surfers? Beginning today, writers on public bulletin boards hosted by Korean Web portals will have to enter their resident registration number before posting as part of a one-month test of a new online identity verification system that kicks off next month.
The government says the registration is to prevent defamation, but some are calling the scheme a restriction on basic rights of speech and privacy.
“Now, the entire nation is exposed to [so-called] legitimate surveillance on a daily basis,” said the civic group Action in a statement criticizing the move.
A revised bill on telecommunications that takes effect on July 27 requires the registration procedures.
According to the Information Ministry, 35 Internet Web sites, including top portals Naver and Daum, will require users to confirm their identity and log in before writing anything on public forums. Users must enter their resident registration number and confirm the number with one of four designated credit evaluation organizations.
Lee Seung-jin, a spokesman for Daum, said users under 19 must submit the identification number of a parent or guardian, which the Web portals will confirm through cell phone authorization. Users who do not have Korean citizenship will have to use their visa or other personal identification documents.
The ministry said the measures are being taken so that investigative organizations such as the police can trace the identity of people who post defamatory coments or reveal private information about others. Antagonistic Web postings have been blamed for triggering suicide in persons being attacked.
“People should be careful about what they write because in the future, victims of antagonistic posts can seek information on the writer and use it in court,” said Chang Dong-cheol, an official at the ministry.
However, at a discussion regarding surveillance and restriction on the Web held yesterday in Seoul, activists and academics criticized the changing telecommunications laws.
“The revision isn’t for the better, but for the worse,” said Action in its statement.
The National Election Committee has set rules on political postings that ban comments that are critical, abusive, or offensive. “Instead of political discussions and debates, the regulations have only fostered emotional support for specific politicians,” said activist Jang Yeo-kyeong.


By Wohn Dong-hee Staff Writer [wohn@joongang.co.kr]



dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장