Top Court Strikes Down Real-Name Online Verification

      August 24, 2012 13:38

      The Constitutional Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that a law requiring verification of the real names of Internet users is unconstitutional. The real-name policy, which was introduced five years ago after several celebrities and high school students committed suicide linked to online bullying, will be scrapped.

      The question is now how to stem the reckless slander and abuse that are common among Korea’s vociferous Netizens.

      The case was filed by three people in 2010. The court in its ruling said, "Freedom of expression is a constitutional right that serves as the foundation of democracy. A law limiting freedom of speech should clearly benefit the common good to compensate for the limitation, but there is no evidence that real-name verification is achieving this goal."

      The court added that when damage is palpable as a result of false or illegal information being posted on the Internet, the person responsible can still be tracked down from the IP address, and the victim can be protected by deleting the information or compensated by filing for civil or criminal damages.

      Critics say the court overlooked the speed with which messages are disseminated on the Internet, and insist that once the damage is done it is often difficult to undo.

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