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Identifying the Problem: Korea’s Initial Experience with Mandatory Real Name Verification on Internet Portals

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Authors
Leitner, John
Issue Date
2009
Publisher
BK 21 law
Citation
Journal of Korean Law, Vol.9 No.1, pp. 83-108
Keywords
defamationcyber libelreal name verificationinternetprivacyfree speechGoogleanonymityidentificationKorea
Abstract
In 2007, Korea implemented the world’s only mandatory real name verification system for individuals wishing to post content on popular Korean internet portals. This system, which expanded in 2009 to include additional portals, has so far been relatively ineffective at its stated purpose of reducing instances of online libel. Together with Korea’s censorship of certain internet sites, the real name verification system distinguishes Korea as regulating internet use more heavily than other democratic societies. I argue that the real name verification system is unlikely to successfully deter future acts of

cyber libel, but will rather hinder socially useful online activities, such as free expression on matters of social and political significance. Possible means for strengthening enforcement of the real name verification system would provide little promise of preventing defamation while further interfering with freedom of expression and personal privacy. I propose that Korean law can more effectively balance protection of private reputations with individual liberty interests by changing the real name verification system from a mandatory requirement to an internet portal opt-in system. Korea might also consider an emphasis on civil remedies as a means for minimizing the occurrence and consequences of cyber libel while simultaneously preserving a free and collaborative internet.
ISSN
1598-1681
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/85159
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College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원)The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) Journal of Korean LawJournal of Korean Law Volume 09 Number 1/2 (2009)
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