Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

South Korea Censors Its Own Censor

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the take-care-not-to-criticize-starcraft dept.

Censorship 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."

cancel ×

56 comments

pot kettle black!! (1, Funny)

trinity93 (215227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37323874)

thats all one can really say in such matters

Re:pot kettle black!! (3, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#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"...

all societies will always censor (-1, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37323926)

the argument is never "censor" vs "don't censor" as this is a false argument that will never exist

the proper argument is "what is censored" and "how much"

in this way, idiots who go "well, the USA lets the the MPAA censor youtube posters, and germany doesn't like nazi stuff, and so this is all the same as china and iran censoring political speech"

no, it's not the same thing

and if you think about the problem of censorship in these mindless false equivalencies, you are using a sledgehammer to kill mosquitoes: you are thinking about a complex problem in a hamfisted simplistic way, and you only make yourself sound like someone who can't process complex thoughts and doesn't understand the subject matter

Re:all societies will always censor (2)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 2 years ago | (#37323952)

Irregardless of the differences between what is censored between the different nations, there is one huge difference between nothing ever censored at all and something censored: infrastructure. The infrastructure is a drag on businesses and individuals alike. For example, if I am responsible if someone posts something "bad" in a comment on a blog I run, then that makes it much harder for me to run my own blog. If I am a common carrier, then that makes it a lot easier to do.

Re:all societies will always censor (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324016)

My name is Inigo Montoya von Totengrammatik. You said "irregardless." Prepare to die.

But besides that, there's something more than the cost of the infrastructure that needs to be considered: the fact that the infrastructure is already in place. Governments tend to like hiding the list of censored sites, and invariably it seems they are prone to overstepping, secretly using the blacklist to a remarkable range of corrupt ends [wikipedia.org] . At least Korea had this free speech advocate standing in the way.

Re:Pet peeves... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37324078)

Irregardless of the differences between what is censored between the different nations, there is one huge difference between nothing ever censored at all and something censored: infrastructure. The infrastructure is a drag on businesses and individuals alike. For example, if I am responsible if someone posts something "bad" in a comment on a blog I run, then that makes it much harder for me to run my own blog. If I am a common carrier, then that makes it a lot easier to do.

Irregardless...GAH!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irregardless

"Irregardless is an informal term commonly used in place of regardless or irrespective, which has caused controversy since it first appeared in the early twentieth century. Most dictionaries list it as "nonstandard" or "incorrect"."

and

"Since the prefix ir- means "not" (as it does with irrespective), and the suffix -less means "without", irregardless is a double negative[1] and therefore would have the meaning "in regards to" when that is not the intent."

Re:Pet peeves... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37325360)

"Since the prefix ir- means "not" (as it does with irrespective), and the suffix -less means "without", irregardless is a double negative[1] and therefore would have the meaning "in regards to" when that is not the intent."

No it would not. The meaning cannot be different to the intent. By definition the intent is the meaning. The mere fact that you know what the intent is proves that it is correct. It is perfectly cromulent usage.

All human languages use double negative type constructs to reinforce the negativity. None of them don't!

Re:Pet peeves... (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325980)

in other words: Two wrongs don't not, no way, no how, make a right. Infact, it makes it doubly wrong.

Re:all societies will always censor (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325486)

Yes it is the same thing.

The right to post a YouTube video (copyright stuff is an entirely different issue, same with Google being a private company, both things I won't address in this post), to wear a Swastika and to protest the government are all parts of the exact same right which all people have by virtue of being born. Anytime you attempt to censor anything you are infringing a natural right which has the end result: tyranny. The right to free, uncensored speech, aside from being a natural right of all people is very much needed in any country with any sort of voting or democratic process, because without information from all sides, people won't be able to make the best decisions at the polling booths.

Re:all societies will always censor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37326044)

Maybe you could make a movie about idiot zombies. That would be great.

Re:pot kettle black!! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37323916)

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."

Re:pot kettle black!! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37323934)

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.

Re:pot kettle black!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37324246)

well, censorship is usually meant to work like a black hole, like something doesn't exist. if you mention what is censored it is no longer censored. it's an old way to fight censorship and usually just leads to illegal(even by their own standards) action by the censoring body, which means the censoring body has all the more reason to censor it.

basically the other members think that it's ok to ban discussion of dicks from minors.

Re:pot kettle black!! (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324236)

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

Re:pot kettle black!! (3, Insightful)

martyros (588782) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Own medicine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37323896)

Really like it when it happens to you dont you??

Re:Own medicine (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324400)

Hm? This was the board member who was opposed to censorship, and tried to make the board's work more transparent. Of course the more censorship-friendly board members don't like him posting about it on his blog.

For those too lazy to RTFA (5, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:For those too lazy to RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37325016)

Of course it would set a dangerous precedent if they allowed those posts to stand - it would indicate that the commission is obligated to actually understand and think about the content they are banning, and not just check for nudity or cuss words. Fortunately they have realized that they simply have to make an exception for people in a position of authority, since such people are well known in the community and as respectable people they could not violate the spirit of the statute in any case.

Re:For those too lazy to RTFA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37325036)

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 forbid someone in South Korea have access to a picture of a penis ON THE INTERNET! I guess they better censor Wikipedia.

Way to go, South Korea. You're a long way off from North Korea, but obviously you're making great progress towards reunification with that regime.

Re:For those too lazy to RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37327762)

Oh you're right. Censoring digital pictures of penises is right up there with public executions and concentration camps.

Re:For those too lazy to RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37326056)

Too lazy to RTFA? It seems most posters were too lazy to read the summary!

Who Censors the Censors ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37324112)

The Censors, apparently...

Re:Who Censors the Censors ? (2)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324194)

Yeah, well REDACTED the censors! They can go REDACTED a REDACTED fat REDACTED!

Yo dawg... (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37327642)

Yo dawg, we heard you like censorship, so we censored your censors, so you can censor while you censor your censored censorship!

Re:Who Censors the Censors ? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324810)

Well, maybe the censor can censor the censor back to achieve openness...

Re:Who Censors the Censors ? (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37328930)

Yo dawg, I heard you liked to censor, so I put some censors on your censor so you can censor what gets censored.

Another one for the pot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37324148)

From the OP: "...The EFF is deeply troubled by the rise of administrative boards to censor the Internet—now extant in Turkey, Australia, India and South Korea..."

You can add the UK to that list - they have the "Internet Watch Foundation"....

Re:Another one for the pot... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324228)

As long as there's a socially-recognized need to provide for censorship, either for victims' rights like in the case of the exploitation of minors, there will be boards whose jobs are to try to make censorship work.

The only way to make it work truly fairly, in my opinion, is to make it very difficult to censor unless one can provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the content to be censored is of a crime yielding a victim, and the presence of the content itself is the cause of victimization. Voyeurism, pornography of minors, the outright celebration of violence, and the real and demonstrable threat of violence are the only major criteria that I would really censor for everyone. For those that are adults, they can choose what to look at and what to avoid, and parents should take the initiative to deal with their childrens' viewing habits.

That being said, people are judged by what they say, and if someone says something implying a possibility of committing a crime, their speech, in whatever form it may come, can be used as proof against them.

Re:Another one for the pot... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324286)

the outright celebration of violence

What do you mean by this?

Re:Another one for the pot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37325528)

Missed the whole bumfights phenom, didja?

Re:Another one for the pot... (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324326)

I agree; it's better to err on the side of freedom and allow some abuse of free speech, than to err on the side of censorship and open up possibilities for politicians and bureaucrats to censor anyone who threatens their power.

That being said, people are judged by what they say, and if someone says something implying a possibility of committing a crime, their speech, in whatever form it may come, can be used as proof against them.

This is not without its problems either, since anyone can be made to look suspicious if you dig through enough of his or her statements. As Cardinal Richelieu said, "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." There's a reason lawyers always advice their clients not to talk to the police, no matter how innocent they are.

Most people have also broken the law in some way or other, often without being aware of it. Having access to all private information gives a lot of power to politicians and civil servants to scare or blackmail their enemies - you know that if you criticise the wrong person, they'll find something to pin on you, maybe even something you're guilty of without being aware of it. Especially since the law is a matter of interpretation.

And even if you're eventually found to be not guilty, you may be arrested, tied up in court for a long time, lose your job, etc.

Re:Another one for the pot... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325592)

Censorship of anything is a bad thing.

Voyeurism is too hard to really define accurately and unless the person being filmed can identify where it is and prove that the person couldn't be on a public street or something and see them and even then it would be someone's word against someone's word.

As for CP, the laws have done a lot more harm than good. By making it a restricted commodity and by making batshit insane decisions on it, we've got laws that harm, rather than help minors. First off, by making possession of it a crime, we've created an underground economy where rapists and abusers can get money to feed their crimes. Instead of letting it die out with previous images, our current laws encourage people to start paying the rapists rather than getting it for free. Net result is more minors are harmed because of these laws. Next, it is impossible to say what does and doesn't constitute CP, how is it that a drawing can be constituted as CP? Or a photoshop manipulation. Both of them are victimless crimes, no one is getting abused in either of them. Or what about the 19 year old with a 17 year old boy/girlfriend where they might be charged with CP for sending nude pictures, despite the fact that a day later when the 17 year old is 18 it is somehow legal?

As for celebrating violence, that is political speech and should, without a doubt, be protected. For example, in America we have Independence Day which celebrates the armed, violent, attacks against the British in the Revolutionary War. We celebrate soldiers who make a living killing others. The news celebrates violence all day, praising violent cops and violent soldiers. To quote Voltaire

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets

And as for the "real and demonstrable threat of violence" it is again political speech that should not be censored. Not to mention that violence can, and should be used to topple an oppressive regime.

Re:Another one for the pot... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325856)

As long as there's a socially-recognized need to provide for censorship, either for victims' rights like in the case of the exploitation of minors, there will be boards whose jobs are to try to make censorship work.

You are absolutely correct. Therefore the answer to this problem is obvious. (Censorship is a terribly inefficient and ineffective way to prevent the exploitation of minors, incidentally)

Re:Another one for the pot... (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37327646)

As long as there's a socially-recognized need to provide for censorship

There isn't. But there's always some totalitarian twerp willing to stack the discussion by bringing up statistically nonexistent things, or unpleasant things like kiddy porn that are only a symptom of the still unaddressed actual abuse, and try to use peer pressure to make it look like anyone who wants an uncensored net is really a secret freak or naive.

The only way to make [censorship] work truly fairly, in my opinion

Oh yeah, that's what the world needs, the uninformed opinion of someone whose best idea is limiting speech for great justice.

make it very difficult to censor unless one can provide proof

Oh yeah, so you mean make it trivially easy and give the keys to some bureaucrat who will push the button whenever given a properly signed form?

So yeah, let's just re-architect the internet into a centralized thing, require ID for anything, mandate government-key-escrow style crypto for everything (to remove the need for all other crypto), make all other crypto illegal to allow the scan for things needing censoring, and maintain an huge database of links and content hashes we've marked. Not to mention the hacking target that we've created...

And that doesn't even touch on the bureaucracy inherent in the censoring organization, let along in the auditing process require to be able to recognize and ultimately undo mistaken censoring, etc.

Wow.

Because you're easily led, panicky, and morally outraged by the skin of your own species, you want to break the internet almost entirely, enact a trillion-dollar government boondoggle, then funnel all communications and business through that boondoggle. Or had you not thought of any of the consequences of your desires?

Pull US financial support (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324256)

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.

Re:Pull US financial support (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324350)

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

Re:Pull US financial support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37324486)

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

I'd +1 you if I wasn't such an anonymous coward. Freedom of speech in the US is a complete fallacy.

Re:Pull US financial support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37324394)

What financial support? You mean the token American troops stationed in S Korea? S Korea actually pays the US for those troops and equipment (planes, ships, and etc). Without US guaranteeing military aid for both S Korea and Japan, amount of military build up on that part of the world will be very scary. Chinese build up is one thing but add S Korea and Japan to that... US will lose any influence it has in Asia at that point.

Re:Pull US financial support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37324396)

My kneejerk reactions won't help here, but I sincerely hope you are trolling. S.K. has to play the part of the 'ow my balls' guy from Idiocracy on a regular basis in order to keep up their U.S. relations. They have built great infrastructure with the proceeds, but come on - they have to firehose their own people down in the streets to get many of those measures through which puts them well ahead of the U.S. with regards to exercise of public participation.

S.K. has out paced us in green reform, IT infrastructure and access, are marginally higher in literacy, are behind only Japan in maths literacy, and direct much of this from a city within virtual spitting distance of the 'enemy' to the north.

They will do well to prevent Westernization and the slovenly characteristics that have made the United States a political nightmare to govern. Look at the U.S. political candidates, look at our business leaders... They will do well to avoid any further Westernization, and will thus remain a prime destination for talented Americans looking to go somewhere with a cultural future. I know several that have left for those climes.

So, I would propose it would be healthier for the world for the Zetas to cross the U.S. border and open up on innocents than for N.K. to invade S.K. I hope neither happens - but your DMZ talk would be better aimed at North America if you want to see change in S.K.

I'll stay in the U.S. and do my best to love it, but I do envy those that are able to enjoy the significant personal freedoms that come with a culture that does not expect a 'right' of public expression. This breeds much stronger private alliances anyhow.

Re:Pull US financial support (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#37324534)

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

Re:Pull US financial support (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37324822)

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.

Re:Pull US financial support (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325822)

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.

Re:Pull US financial support (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#37326218)

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.

Re:Pull US financial support (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#37327534)

Americanism compares favorably to the ideologies those bases were built to oppose: Nazism, Stalinism, and Islamism.

Re:Pull US financial support (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#37328526)

That's merely one point of view.
I'm sure muslims would disagree.

Re:Pull US financial support (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37329066)

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

islamism/islmizm/
Noun: Islamic militancy or fundamentalism.

Re:Pull US financial support (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#37329576)

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

Re:Pull US financial support (1)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37327866)

The US military withdrew completely from Korea in 1949.

They have such censorship in South Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37324272)

No wonder some people confuse north and south sometimes...

Oblig. (1, Offtopic)

gargletheape (894880) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325146)

In Soviet Korea, censor censors censor!

Recursion is cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37325324)

It is!

THEY EAT THEIR DOGS THERE, DON'T THEY ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37325420)

K-go-gee and the hunds all run as fast as their little paws can take them. Once caught, they are hanged off a bridge. Seen it every day for a couple of years.

Re:THEY EAT THEIR DOGS THERE, DON'T THEY ?? (0)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325638)

Yo dog, I heard you like internet censorship so I censored your internet censor's internet.

South? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37325670)

At first glance, I just said "Oh, North Korea!" Then I looked again and said, "Wait, South?"

If he really wants to "fight it from the inside" (1)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37329086)

...he should just leak the block list.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...