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I'm from South Korea. And I wrote about cyber witch hunting exists here and there. I don't think it's good essay. That's the main reason I posted it in here so that I can improve better next time I write. It contains about 1000 words. In the first paragraph, it is about a famous recent case happened in South Korea couple of month ago this year, and the next paragraphs consists 'other cases in and out of Korea', 'the origin of the word', 'opinions on it' and 'approaches to handle it'.
World Wild Web –Insights to cyber witch hunting and privacy issues
Former Korean group 2PM's member Jae Bum Park suffered from cyber-bullying and returned to his hometown last September. His outspoken comments on Facebook about Korea were revealed to the public. And people had shown their anger toward him and he finally got on the plane heading for America. Some people have been watching the development of this event. They stated that the event has a potential to provoke universal hot issues regarding ‘internet privacy’ and ‘cyber bullying’.
Internet witch hunting goes as follows: One person ,occasionally a witness, posts the evidence and the whole picture of the incident on the net. There could be appealing letters or posts, not physical evidence like photos or videos. And then, the post gets some attention and receives enough hits to be spreadto public. In this process, not considering its reliablity or credibility or truth, people are convinced that it can't be wrong or inaccurate as if a lot of hits and replies support the fact.
These series of actions by people on cyberspace seem to be similar to a medival Witch Hunt. That's why it is called a cyber witch hunt. In more general terms, it can be refered to Internet vigilantism. Internet vigilantism defined the phenomenon of vigilantic acts taken through the Internet or carried out using applications that depend on the Internet. The term encompasses vigilantism against scams, crimes, and non-Internet related behavior.
It is not just today’s problem. Since the advent of Interent Age, it has been a hot potato. Hundreds of millions of people send e-mail, upload his photos, videos and other personal information via Internet. And in many cases, they can scour the web and send comments anonymously. As it gains more and more fame and accessibilities from people, more and more people have had to face the bad side of it. Furthermore, according to the statistics of KCSC(Korea Communication Standards Commission), the number of reporting cyber violence cases soared to 46,000 in 2007 from 3,000 in 2004, by 15 times. Most were including defamation and swearing.
Especially in 2005, privacy invasion and moralities reached the culmination of importance. A girl was riding in a subway, carrying a dog in her arm. Her dog defecated on the floor and she didn't take her reposibilities in cleaning up the mess and refused to other's words asking her to clean it up. It became messier and uglier when someone on the subway took a photo of the event and posted it on a blog and it spread rapidly through the nation. The story became national news in Korea. Even worse, it became worldwide news after BoingBoing covered the story. BoingBoing gets an average of about 10 million hits per month.
That is, along with popularity and accecibilities of Internet, privacy became an inevitable assignment for today.
It has happened in other places on the planet where internet exists. In China, there's a famous and yet, controversial web service, named . It originated from a famous Chinese question and answering web page service 'Maofuwang', similar to Korean version 'Naver Jisikin'. Any user can ask any question and get answers through forum-like webpages.
It refers to question and anwering service when one netizen asks the profile of particular individual on the web, other netizens scrutinize the person instead and offer it. With over 220 million people online, these ruthless attacks are made possible and are labelled as 'Cyber witch hunts' or 'Cyber courts'.
One story too place on May 21th, 2008. A video clip was uploaded on Youtube. In the video, a woman commented on Sichuan Earthquake with some swearing, in a rather stimulated voice. It was also uploaded on other Chinese websites, and upset citizens decided to look for her. Soon after, most of her personal information was revealed ruthlessly, including her IM login ID, all the information on it, residence, government ID number, her office address, and even her family phone number. Similary, Sharon Stone, an American attress, was on the 'cyber court' because of her daring comments on Tibet demonstration.
A video of a young male torturing a cat was posted on YouTube. A teenager was shown throwing his cat-he describled the cat as his “test subject”- against a wall, hitting it in the face. After 30,000 views, YouTube removed the video and blocked the hosting account. Anonymous members pieced together information, identifying the individual and reporting him to local law enforcement.
Some people are concerned that it leads to Netcarthyism, a combination of Netizen and McCarthyism. It means to agitate the masses by criticizing the events or the subject ruthlessly and results in tramplying one individual's identity totally. It is a metaphore for recalling how McCarthy trends (or McCarthyism) swept the States after World War II. McCarthyism refers to the suppression on the media, ideology, political activities on the assumption that there exist communists among the US assembly majorities. The development of web news portals aiming at getting more attention by pouring unidentified rumors and sensational articles and scandals contributes to the Netcarthyism.
The impact of cyber bullying even leads people to suicide. The late An Jae-Hwan, actress Jung Da-Bin, Choi Jin-Sil, and singer Yu-Ni all commited suicide after merciless attacks from people online and offline.
Maybe one of the reasons is in the Korean education system. Most Korean schools don’t allow enough opprotunities for discussions with others during classes. And therefore, sometimes, some people take adamant behavior to the events, and are reluctant to listen to other's opinions. Online users??? sometimes consider any individual that is different from the common or “normal” people as 'bad' rather than compatible???. It results in a vicious circle.
For now, there are few solutions to it. To prevent people from become victims, the government is plaaning to introduce internet real-name system, pre-censoring of internet contents, and reinforcing regulations to spreads of unconfirmed information.
However, rather than these regulations, it is suggested that each protal webpage companies inform the users of signigicances of individual's rights. And favorable social atmosphere should be built on individual basis.
Last edited by ajaaja; 14-Nov-2009 at 15:21.