Cyberviolence A Growing Web Trend In South Korea

Cyberviolence, a form of vigilante 'justice' in which a large group of Internet users post attacks against an individual, are increasing in South Korea.

In Seoul, a thirty-year-old accountant named Kim Myong Jae became the number one hate figure of South Korea's huge Internet community. Believing that he had killed his girlfriend, threats and viscious messages flooded cellphone while a wide variety of meanspirited rumors were posted on blogs and Web portals, where they spread quickly.

"By the time I found out the source of this outrage, it was too late. My name, address, photographs, telephone numbers were all over the Internet," Kim said. "Tens of thousands of people were busy sharing my identity and discussing how to punish me. My name was the most-searched phrase at portals," Kim stated.

Complaints about similar kinds of cyberviolence have proliferated on the South Korean Internet. Complaints filed with the government's Korea Internet Safety Commission more than doubled to 42,643 last year from 18,031 in 2003.

Dozens of people have been indicted on charges of criminal contempt or slander for writing or spreading malicious insults. This month, South Korea's National Assembly will debate a bill to require bulletin boards and web portals to authenticate the identity of posters.

Science fiction writers anticipated the idea of cyberviolence a generation ago. In his classic 1975 novel Shockwave Rider, John Brunner wrote about a solution to cyberviolence. One way to do it was to create and set loose a tapeworm that would track down cyberviolent attacks.

He sent a retaliatory worm chasing Fluckner's. That should take care of the immediate problem in three to thirty minutes, depending on whether or not he beat the inevitable Monday morning circuit overload. According to recent report, there were so many worms and counterworms loose in the data-net now, the machines had been instructed to give them low priority unless they related to a medical emergency.
(Read more about tapeworms)

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