중앙데일리

Internet to be stripped of anonymity

July 23,2008
Anonymous Web users wishing to lash out at others on the Internet will no longer be able to hide behind a curtain of anonymity beginning next year.

Korea’s telecommunication regulator yesterday announced a measure it said is to protect people’s privacy and reduce libelous posts on the Internet. The rule will require major Internet portals to constantly monitor posts for such content.

The new rules are expected to draw intense criticism from Internet users in Korea, one of the world’s most wired countries, and are likely to trigger debate on freedom of speech on the World Wide Web.

The Korea Communications Commission, which sets up rules and regulations for the local telecommunication and Internet industry, yesterday announced its so-called “Comprehensive Measures on Internet Information Protection.” The package included 50 rules.

One of the rules, aimed at “strengthening the social responsibility of Internet portal operators and file sharing sites,” stops operators of local Web sites with more than 100,000 visitors a day from permitting anonymous postings.

This means all users will have to post their remarks under their real names, or at least under their registered login IDs they use for the site.

People who use online news sites with more than 200,000 visitors a day, or Internet portals and video upload sites with more than 300,000 visitors a day, are already required to identify themselves with registered login IDs before posting comments.

But as early as next year, users of all Web sites with more than 100,000 daily visitors will be required to do so, according to the new rules proposed by the commission yesterday.

Also, major operators will be required to monitor their sites around the clock to check for libelous postings. When an individual or organization files a complaint about a post that contains libelous content targeting them and asks the operator to delete it, the Web site operators must do so immediately, according to the measures.

The Web site operators that fail to do so, along with those that do not have proper monitoring systems on their sites, may face heavy fines from the government, said Lim Cha-sik, a commission director.

“Up until now, when the victims of libelous online comments ask the Web site operators to delete certain postings and the portals refuse to do so, there have been few legal ways to punish the portals,” said Lim.

“The victims have no options but to file a civic lawsuit, which is a long, complicated process, so few have actually taken the option.”


By Jung Ha-won Staff Reporter [hawon@joongang.co.kr]


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