Internet Users Flock to Foreign Sites to Avoid Censorship

Posted on koreatimes  By Kim Tong-hyung

Google’s decision to bypass local censorship laws may contribute to inciting Internet users to flock to foreign sites as a means of avoiding censorship.

Google has a miniscule presence in the country where domestic Web sites such as Naver (www.naver.com) and Daum (www.daum.net) are the key players.

Internet users are increasingly concerned about the level of Web surveillance here and many bloggers are contemplating “cyber exiles.”

“Not so many users go to foreign sites,” said an official from Daum.

“However, if their Web activity is suppressed more, more and more users could become more willing to venture out of their habits and try other things. And Google may benefit from its clearer position in the long run.”

Last week, Google disabled South Korean users from uploading videos and posting comments on the Korean version of its online video service, YouTube (kr.youtube.com), in order to avoid the requirements for real-name registration of users.

However, since the changes are only effective for YouTube’s Korean-language site, domestic users are still able to post videos on it if they set their country preference to one other than South Korea.

Since April 1, Korean Internet users have been required to submit their names, resident registration codes, the Korean equivalent of social security numbers, and other verifiable personal information for posting files or commenting on Web sites with more than 100,000 visitors.

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