중앙데일리

Rules to tighten for portal sites

Information Ministry to hold them responsible for content

July 31,2007
The government is seeking to revise telecom laws so that local Internet portals must assume more responsibility for the content that appears on their sites, the Information Ministry said yesterday.
Beginning next year, major portals that don’t take measures against pornographic content will have to pay up to 100 million won ($108,307) in fines. Also, if portals wish to stop running a service such as e-mail or instant messaging, they must alert affected users 30 days in advance.
If portals meddle with statistics such as the most frequently searched word or phrase or rankings of celebrity fan club Web sites, they will have to pay up to 300 million won in fines.
These detailed plans will be included in a draft revision bill regarding telecom and communications laws, which the ministry will present to the National Assembly later this year.
“Until now, only the creators and distributors of pornographic material could be held responsible, but in the future, Internet portals will be, too, if they don’t do anything about it,” said Yoo Young-hwan, deputy information minister.
The Web sites subject to investigation will be those that have more than 100,000 visitors on a daily basis, which applies to about 22 portals and nine user-created content Web sites such as video portals.
“In the case of additional services offered by portals such as e-mail, users must have time to back up their data, so beginning next year, companies will have to post a 30-day preliminary notice [before cancellation],” Yoo added.
The government said that state funds will help those portals by giving them one month’s funding to continue running the service.
Yesterday’s announcements are in line with the ministry’s latest actions that require portals to adopt a personal authorization system to protect teens from adult material. Beginning tomorrow, the ministry will host hearings at the Science and Technology Hall in southern Seoul to discuss the revised bill with the public.
Some IT specialists, however, are skeptical of what seem like Big Brother-type actions. “The Internet is overflowing with information, and it won’t be easy to block everything,” said the president of a local IT firm who wished to remain unnamed.


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



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