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Monday, October 13, 2008

The Continuing Saga of South Korea's Cyberspace Dementia

Posted by Ryan J. Prado on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 3:09 PM

Apparently, in South Korea, if you're exposed to Internet message board slander, or all-around untrue gossip wagon mischief, there's a good chance you'll commit suicide. At least, that's what happened to South Korea's "national actress" Choi Jin Sil. After vicious rumors circulated the extremely plugged-in, celebrity-swathed demographic of the region, accusing Choi of being a loan shark (more or less) the actress committed suicide, leaving the country and the government in the embattled position of how to regulate, censor or track instigators of online defamation.
The South Korean government has instituted a "monthlong crackdown on online defamation" where "900 agents from the government's Cyber Terror Response Center are scouring blogs and online discussion boards to identify and arrest those who "habitually post slander and instigate cyber bullying."

Quotes from insiders to the crisis include such hardball rhetoric as "Internet space in our country has become the wall of a public toilet," according to Hong Joon Pyo, a senior politician in the governing Grand National Party. Additionally, though online defamation is currently taking center stage in the war on the 'net, South Korea is also afflicted by teenage, ultra-addicted online gamers, resulting in the creation of "Internet rescue" boot camps to help them rehabilitate.

And we thought we had problems... Read the full story here.

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