YouTube's legal end-run irks Korean officials

Google has provoked the wrath of government officials through its resistance to a law prohibiting anonymous YouTube uploads and comments.

Google's advice on sidestepping a South Korean law against anonymous YouTube video postings and comments doesn't seem to be sitting well with some of the country's authorities.

Google, citing free-speech concerns, on Monday said it will comply with the Korean law--but by prohibiting uploads and comments rather than by requiring people to verify their identities. And it told people they could work around the constraint by visiting another country's version of the video-sharing site.

Now the backlash is beginning to set in, according to one Korean media report.

"Korea Communications Commission network policy official Hwang Cheol-jeung says that the commission will be examining whether or not Google has engaged in illegal activities in any of the various services it operates in South Korea," the Hankyoreh reported Friday, saying that could include many more Google activities than just YouTube.

The report also said Google's Korean chief, Lee Won-jin, defended the move on Korean TV. And an editorial in the same publication sided with Google, describing the law's origins in government's effort to "suppress criticism on the Internet" and calling the KCC's actions "childish."

Google didn't respond to a request for comment.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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