Concerning an arrested blogger in South Korea

이번 학기에 “정보 정책과 법률 (Information Law and Policy)” 이라는 과목을 듣는다. 이번 주에 내가 독후감(?) – reading response – 를 써야 해서 수업 블로그에 올린 글.

One of the main themes of the last lecture is about “the freedom of speech” which is manifested in the constitution. This reminded me the recent case of arresting a blogger in South Korea. (For those who want to see the fact, refer to news and magazine article links attached at the end of this post.) This case shows that an actual person in the real world can be prosecuted based on an action in the cyber space. I think it is relevant to the “Abundance User Control (AUC)” article and some chapters in “Code 2.0” assigned as last reading.

We are using the web and blogs a lot as interactive media for contents these days. The number of these new media is virtually unlimited and end users are given almost absolute freedom to choose which contents they receive. As AUC anticipated, these technologies have fostered the value of the freedom of expression, since they not only are open and decentralized, but also give users abundant control. However, this case has proven an obvious but easily forgettable fact, which is that technology itself cannot guarantee any human rights to be protected. Once a regulator decides to suppress free exchange of idea, it can do so by all means.

In terms of the process for oppressing the freedom, it can be interesting to observe the singularity that a cyber space has. Before the Internet, it was costly to publish an opinion even if one was using mass printing technology. The Internet has enabled an action of publishing by copying and pasting to be unbelievably easy, and it comes real that one person possesses technically infinite number of identities, a flood of simulacra. Therefore, a regulator who wants to punish someone in the cyber space should be able to trace activities on the web. In this sense, I think, as “Code 2.0” pointed out, the web’s recent inclination toward linking a cyber space identity to the real world entity could potentially lead to discouragement of the freedom of speech especially when a regulator tries to control the flow of idea.