YouTube gives a no-thank-you to Korean government

I was recently upset by the Korean government’s decision to enforce real-name verification on YouTube, as written by Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher:

On April 1 Google was required by law to ban South Korean users from posting videos or leaving comments on YouTube unless they use real names. The law states that South Korean web sites with at least 100,000 daily visitors must force users to register with verifiable real names. It would be the first time for Google to implement such a system, in any of its operations around the world.

The news irritated me as it is one thing too obvious to have every online speeches traceable under a certain legal system, it is another thing to enforce the same system to a web sites which encompasses other countries as well, which as a result may prove to be ineffective. The desirability of real-name verification system is, at best, still controversial in Korea, and even without a moral standpoint, extending this type of regulation to global web service providers would, in the end, cause additional costs as burden and therefore incentivize these players to leave and skip the Korean market, entirely.

Well, after these worries, it seems that Google found the way to politely avoid this legal-moral quagmire, as reported on Korea Times:

YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing Web site, said Thursday it has decided not to require South Korean users to use their real names when they register, Yonhap News Agency reported.

……The Web site’s decision will allow users to view YouTube content but without being able to post videos or comments.

Since no one is unable to post or write anything, it’d be unnecessary to confirm anyone’s identity, wouldn’t it? What’s next for the Korean government? Track down every visitor to YouTube?


About this entry