Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G+ users

Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G+ users

Summary: South Korea has a Real Names Law that Google has refused to follow. Yet Google Plus users must use their real names... Hypocrisy?

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TOPICS: Apps, Browser, Google
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Google's insistence that people use their real names on Google Plus goes against its official policy of refusing to comply with South Korea's Real-Name verification law.

The Korean law forces web sites with more than 100,000 visitors per day to force users to use their real names. Google got around it by stopping Korean users of YouTube from posting comments and told them to upload video to a neighboring country's YouTube site.

Google Tests The Limits Of Governments - Bars Korean Users From Uploading Videos And Leaving Comments - SVW

Rachel Whetstone, VP of Global Comms, explained: "Google thinks the freedom of expression is most important value to uphold on the internet. We concluded in the end that it is impossible to provide benefits to internet users while observing this country's law because the law does not fall in line with Google's principles."

Why then does Google insist that Google Plus users have to use their real names?

Social Informatics points out:

In April 2011, Freedom House, international human rights NGO, published the report about freedom on internet and digital media. In the report, they describe South Korea as “partly free country”.

They states that South Korea’s internet infrastructure is one of the most advanced in the world, and its democratic institutions, however Real-Name verification policy and a recent series of arrests of bloggers have presented challenges to internet freedom.

UN special rapporteur, Frank La Rue, also concerns regarding Real-Name verification that “clearly qualifies as pre-censorship, restricts freedom of internet-based expression rooted in anonymity, inhibits public opinion formation, and contravenes freedom of expression.”


Topics: Apps, Browser, Google

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14 comments
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  • RE: Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G users

    Anytime a government, or even a corporation that does business with the public forces a customer (sic) to provide real identity it does so at a cost to our basic freedoms.
    1seniram
    • RE: Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G users

      @1seniram Well said, thanks. At least some people actually understand that but Google + users don't seem to- yet.
      xplorer1959
    • RE: Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G users

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      yantangseo
  • RE: Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G users

    Who cares? Not on G+, not in Korea. I almost always use my real name, except for logins at various places.
    dhays
    • there are reasons to remain anonymous

      @dhays

      you ever become a whistle blower and you will care about concealing your identity while the s*** hits the fan and whomever you blew the whistle on tries to silence you
      erik.soderquist
  • Does Google think it's more important then the Korean government?

    I can't see why they would act this way if they thought otherwise
    William Farrell
  • G Policy isn't real names

    Actually, G+'s policy, while deeply flawed, is NOT a policy requiring real names.

    It has to be a well-established online identity by which you are generally known, but it would fall far short of Korea's standards.

    There is indeed an inconsistency of outlook here, but it isn't a direct conflict with their position in Korea.
    Bob.Kerns
    • RE: Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G users

      @Bob.Kerns From what I understand of Google's policy they are making it nearly impossible to meet this standard - it appears to merely be a loophole for the elite and the elite only. I don't think it's much of a difference at all.
      kymac
  • RE: Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G users

    anonymity protects whistle blowers and reporters in addition to various miscreants and can serve a public good.

    what are the merits of anonymity on a social networking site? where various communications are meant to be restricted to people you know and trust.

    this is not hypocrisy on google's part. they are smart enough to make the distinction and so are you.
    jeyost9
    • RE: Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G users

      @jeyost@... Here's my problem, though - putting your real name on Google Plus (which I did at first) automatically changes ALL your Google settings - including a pseudonymous Google ID you may have used in the past to complain about your current boss, family, etc. That's my REAL beef with Google Plus right now - I have NO IDEA what I posted using my Google ID in the last several years, so I am hesitant for it to suddenly be able to be pulled up with an internet search of my real name.

      Yes, yes, I *could* make a separate Google Plus account, but I am/was a die-hard Google user - I have *tons* of things I'm using right now that require me to be logged in under my *real* Google account. Why bother switching in and out of screen names all the time or keeping an entire separate browser open for a service which, let's face it most my friends aren't bothering with?
      kymac
  • Message has been deleted.

    zafer12
  • Message has been deleted.

    eehpwzkeau
  • RE: Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G users

    I see the issues - but Information without knowledge it is from a "trustworthy" source gives credibility to those that do not deserve it. It could also be used to prevent widespread distribution of violent or illegal intentions. Unverified accounts could be identified as such.
    gdeitch_z
  • RE: Google refuses compliance with Korean Real-Name law but imposes it on G users

    This isn't hypocrisy at all. The Korean law is a blanket law imposed on all by government whereas the Google+ policy is a policy freely-chosen by a corporation on one of their sites. Any website owner has the freedom to choose whatever policy they want and any Internet user has the freedom to choose not to join a website with that policy. The two situations are very different.

    Honestly, I tire of the way the word "hypocrisy" is so woefully misunderstood an misapplied these days.
    martin.g21