Tuesday, October 07, 2008

[Hankyoreh, October 6 2008] [Editorial] Exploiting death with Internet controls

The Lee Myung-bak administration and the ruling Grand National Party have begun to actively use the death of Choi Jin-sil as an excuse to legally define a new crime, that of “cyber insult.” They want to expand the program that requires “real name confirmation” of Internet users and to make it easier to have posted comments deleted.

The GNP says it is going to submit and pass a revision to the Information Communications Network Law that it will call the “Choi Jin-sil Act.” That, however, would only be affixing the name of the deceased in the wrong place. The idea of making a “cyber insult” a crime was Justice Minister Kim Kyung-hwan’s idea back in July, immediately following the candlelight protests, and the purpose then was to put a lid on Internet users criticizing the administration. The plan, at the administration-level, was to require wider-ranging identity checks for people who want to post comments and make it easier to have comments deleted so as to suppress Internet users’ political participation and outspokenness. Now they are trying to use Choi’s death for political purposes. It is crude and inhumane.

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