First the French, now Korea. The technolibertarians are getting it on all sides…
The gist of the story: the Ministry of Information and Communication is issuing some guidelines for comment. The comment end date is June 29th. They include a code of conduct, some legal rules for people to follow, and a checklist for users to ue when creating and uploading content.
The code of conduct concerns the responsibility of the UCC creator, respecting UCC copyright and the prevention of defamation. The legal guideline offers detailed information on copyright, protection of user privacy, prevention of defamation and the circulation of adulterous content.
Apparently, half the users of the Net in Korea report discomfort with user-created content, because of bad language, incorrect information, and privacy infringement.
UCC, the current buzzword in cyberspace, is likely to exercise an overwhelming influence over the presidential election this year.
What’s the issue that worries them? Basically, the equivalent of YouTube clips about politicians. Currently in Korea, it’s against the law for you to upload political opinions as video clips, apparently. They’re talking about relaxing this law, with the exception that minors still won’t be able to participate, and a key element from US politics — “slander or black propaganda” — will not be allowed.
This issue of defamation is a big one, apparently. The Hankyoreh has a whole article on how older articles which only present half of a more complex story are popping up higher in search results, thus resulting in misleading impressions about people.
Asking to remain anonymous, an individual posted the following on an Internet portal’s online bulletin board: “When I search my name on an Internet portal, an article regarding a robbery I committed a long time ago comes up. I am concerned over the possibility that my child may find out about my crime one day by searching my name on the Internet. I was already cleared of the crime, so please delete the article.”
One result? JoongAng Daily reports
As if snipping out tumors with surgical scissors, 126 employees scour the Daum portal Web site for “bad” content and delete it with a mouse click.Operating around the clock in three shifts of 42 each, these cyber censors target adult videos, copyright-sensitive videos, and offensive and abusive language in text posts.
I link all of these because it helps give a further glimpse into the ways in which the issue of free speech in virtual spaces of all sorts of growing more complicated, with strong variations by territory. South Korea is one of them ost wired societies on earth, but its experience with this sort of UCC is in some ways more limited than the West, because of technological happenstance and historical accident. I wonder to what degree the Internet will become a leveller of national custom?