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South Korea Strikes Down Real Name Law, Upholds Internet Anonymity

A month we reported on YouTube’s plan to encourage all of their users to drop their aliases and start posting using their real names. Like everyone else on the Internet, I hate the malicious, immature comments that are born out of the anonymity that the internet provides. And yet, that anonymity is an important part of the freedom that the internet also provides. For that reason, I can understand South Korea’s Constitutional Court’s decision to strike down a law requiring internet users to use their real names.

The law was originally passed in an attempt to curb libelous speech, but the court’s eight judges ruled unanimously that the law was unconstitutional, citing that the ability to express yourself anonymously allows people to share their thoughts without external pressure. Even if there’s an unintended side effect to online anonymity, they say, it should still be protected.

Despite the ruling, South Korea is still on Reporters With Borders’s “under surveillance” list for cracking down on speech which they label “excessive insults, the spreading of false rumors, and defamation.” They also keep a close eye out for North Korean propaganda.

via The Verge

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