Citing free-speech concerns about an anonymity-blocking law in South Korea, Google has disabled the ability to upload YouTube videos or comment on them in the country.
"We believe that it is important for free expression that people have the right to remain anonymous, if they choose," the company said in a blog post that also tells people that they can get around the restriction by using a different country's version of the site.
A Korean law requires "real-name verification" for Internet services with more than 100,000 different daily users, Google said. Under the law, people must identify themselves with a name and identification number before they can upload video or post comments.
Google shared this translation of its Korean blog post, explaining the situation:
We have a bias in favor of people's right to free expression in everything we do. We are driven by a belief that more information generally means more choice, more freedom, and ultimately more power for the individual. We believe that it is important for free expression that people have the right to remain anonymous, if they choose.
Because of Real Name Verification Law in Korea, we have voluntarily disabled comments and video uploads when using YouTube in Korea with the Korea country setting, so you will not be required to verify your identity.
You will still be able to enjoy watching and sharing videos on YouTube. You may still upload videos and comments without proving your identity by choosing a non-Korean country setting from the top of any YouTube page.
We understand that this may affect your experience on YouTube. Thank you in advance for your understanding. We hope that you continue to enjoy and participate in the YouTube community.
(Via Google Blogoscoped.)