Friday, October 17, 2008

No Internet Regulation on Human Flesh Searches

New America Media, News analysis, Xujun Eberlein, Published: Oct 17, 2008

Vicious online gossip was blamed for pushing South Korean film star Choi Jin Sil to hang herself in her bathroom. The news that the Korean government now plans to enforce a “Choi Jin Sil law” to regulate the Internet has triggered another wave of debate on internet regulation in Chinese cyberspace.

Cyber rumors, apparently, were a direct cause of Choi's suicide, and Korean police have arrested a rumor spreader involved in the case. Even long before this event, cyber violence prompted the Korean government to implement the so-called "real name system." This system requires all commercial websites with 30,000 or more users, and all media websites with 20,000 or more users, to verify a user's real ID before allowing them to post any message. The "Choi Jin Sil law" extends the real-name system to any website with 10,000 or more users.

Now some Chinese netizens are wondering if China needs to follow suit. China has been rocked by stories of “human flesh searches” which are basically Internet vigilantes unleashing a cyber equivalent of lynching.

More people, however, are worried that such regulation would heavily restrict freedom of speech. Their worries are not without basis. Read the complete article>>

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