The Korean government will be able to monitor the activities of its citizens on YouTube as it required the popular video channel to require Koreans to register their real names.
The new rule, which will start on April 1, will require South Korean citizens to register their resident registration numbers on YouTube. With such rule, the Korean government can trace down the identity of a person.
Here’s more from the Korea Times:
South Korea is looking at more ways to impose rules on Internet users and insisted that Google should behave in order to stay here. And after months of hesitation, the search giant now appears ready to bend and bow.
According to the company, Korean users of Google’s popular online video site, YouTube (www.youtube.com), will be required to make verifiable real-name registrations for uploading content and posting comments starting on April 1. It is the first time in any country that Google is forcing users to submit verifiable personal information, company officials said.
In a much-debated decision last year, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), the country’s broadcasting and telecommunications regulator, mandated that all Internet sites with more than 100,000 visitors impose real-name registrations for their message boards and chat rooms from April this year.
KCC officials explain that such measures were inevitable to curb “cyber bullying” and reduce misinformation on the Internet. However, critics argue that the Lee Myung-bak government is getting overzealous in its efforts to monitor cyberspace, after being repeatedly attacked by bloggers, first over the controversial decision to resume U.S. beef imports, and more recently for its ineptitude in economic policies.
The watershed moment came in January when police arrested Park Dae-sung, a blogger known more widely as “Minerva” and a frequent critic of the government’s economic polices, on charges of “deliberately” undermining public interest by distributing fraudulent information.
Currently, Google asks Internet users to submit only their IDs, passwords and e-mail addresses to access its online services, such as YouTube.
Google has enjoyed a bump in popularity for its search function, blogs and other online services here in recent months, due to the migration of local Internet users revisiting the increasingly heavy-handed approach by Korean Web portals.
Industry sources said that Google even considered shutting down YouTube’s Korean site rather than imposing a separate set of rules in Korea.
However, the company could ill-afford to go half-way in its commitment to Korea, which represents one of the most advanced Internet markets in the world.
“Google is serious about protecting the rights of users and freedom of expression, but at the same time, is required to follow the regulations of the local country,” said a Google Korea official, who said the company will implement different measures for non-Korean YouTube users accessing services from here. (Korea Times)
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