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Censorship Electronic Frontier Foundation Your Rights Online

South Korea Censors Its Own Censor 56

decora writes "The EFF reports on an internet censorship case in South Korea. The blog of Professor K.S. Park was recently brought up for consideration by the Korean Communication Standards Commission, which presides over South Korea's online censorship scheme, blocking about 10,000 URLs per month. The unusual thing about this case is that Park himself is a member of the commission; he was appointed to it by the opposition party as a well known free-speech advocate. The other members of the committee allowed him to make changes to his blog for now, but have vowed to 'take action' against it in the future."
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South Korea Censors Its Own Censor

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  • thats all one can really say in such matters

    • by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @02:24AM (#37323900)

      I believe that a better saying would be:

      The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing...

      The guy who advocates free speech probably joined the censors to "fight the good fight" from the inside, but of course he will make enemies in there. Who is to say that people on the commission who don't like him or his views don't simply keep dropping his URL into the "super secret box for enemy of the state URLs to verify and block"...

    • Sounds more like the kettle calling it's own white parts black. This guy was a free speech advocate. He was posting what the board had been censoring. I think this is a case of moral crusaders bent on cleaning up society, and willing to fight extremely dirty to do so. Which is what the self-righteous always do, be it pro-lifers murdering or law enforcement breaking the law to catch the "bad guys."
      • To clarify: the OTHER board members were the moral crusaders willing to do immoral things. This guy seems opposed to the whole idea of censorship, his efforts to make it a transparent process are not hypocritical by my estimation.
    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      I'd bet that censor is on stun right now...

    • by martyros ( 588782 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @04:33AM (#37324408)

      Except that's not what happened. One of the members of the board of censors is actually a free speech advocate. He started posting things on his blog which he thought had been wrongly censored. So it's no surprise that republishing of material which was already censored would be flagged up as something to be censored.

      The argument the EFF is making is that the censorship itself needs to be open; the blog lets the public know what kinds of things are actually being censored, and they are thus urging the committee to leave it up.

  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @02:34AM (#37323930)
    The relevant paragraphs

    The Korean Constitutional Court struck down the Telecommunications Business Act provision for being too vague, warning about the risk of censorship associated with the ICEC regime.

    However, unabashed, the South Korean government has merely replaced ICEC with another administrative body whose job it is to apply new, vague legal standards to the Internet. Made up of nine members appointed by the president, the Korean Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) was created to regulate Internet content.


    Professor K.S. Park is a member of KCSC, one of three members suggested by the opposition party. Prof. Park is a scholar with a long history of defending online freedom of expression, and he organized the constitutional challenge against the rule abolishing online anonymity...

    In July, Prof. Park decided to begin exploring the nuances of these censorship choices in his blog. Believing that a censorship regime is terrible but a secret censorship regime is even worse, he used his blog to educate people about the types of content that were being removed from the Internet in South Korea. He would publish a sample of the type of content that had been removed and include a legal discussion of the removal choice. For example, Prof. Park posted non-sexual pictures of human male anatomy, such as those found in sex education books, along with the argument that such images are not obscene and that even by the conservative Korean standards it's enough to just place age-restrictions on access. Six of his fellow commissioners rejected the argument.

    As a result, in August, Prof. Park found his own blog on the roster of sites to be considered by the KCSC board.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The other relevant part is this:

      "Earlier, the country’s Telecommunications Business Act (1991), which states that ‘‘a person in use of telecommunications shall not make communications with contents that harm the public peace and order or social morals and good customs"..."

      So, basically all it took was one picture of a penis, in a non-sexual context for the purpose of discussing censorship, and that apparently "harmed the public peace and order or social morals and good customs"? Heaven fo

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Censors, apparently...

  • Why should I have to pay to fund their evil? Maybe having the north cross the DMZ will give them a reason to support freedom.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @04:22AM (#37324350)

      You turn to the US to defend freedom? Where have you been the past decade?

    • It's the US that's forcing countries to accept its military bases, not the other way around.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's the US that's forcing countries to accept its military bases, not the other way around.

        We had a plan to leave Yongsan. It was requested that we stay.

      • It's the US that's forcing countries to accept its military bases, not the other way around.

        That's actually very false. US Military bases are huge boons to the native economy, provide training and coordination with allied countries, gives them political leverage both with us and other nations, and strengthens their defense on our dime. The last couple times we've looked at closing some bases the countries have requested we stay and provided benefits in order to convince us. That's not the case across the board of course, but it is when talking about places like SK and Germany for sure.

        • It's mutually beneficial, but it's the US that initially chose to do that to keep the countries in control, since they like to believe they're the world saviors and dispensers of justice, and that everyone should try to be more like them.

          • Americanism compares favorably to the ideologies those bases were built to oppose: Nazism, Stalinism, and Islamism.
            • That's merely one point of view.
              I'm sure muslims would disagree.

              • by poity ( 465672 )

                You're sure Muslims would disagree with an opposition to Islamism? You sound very prejudiced and misinformed

                Noun: Islamic militancy or fundamentalism.

                • I'm sure a lot would disagree that Americanism compares favourably to it.
                  A significant portion of muslims are in favour of Islamism.

          • by wsxyz ( 543068 )
            The US military withdrew completely from Korea in 1949.
  • Oblig. (Score:2, Offtopic)

    In Soviet Korea, censor censors censor!
  • ...he should just leak the block list.

"Remember, extremism in the nondefense of moderation is not a virtue." -- Peter Neumann, about usenet