Why is South Korea Censoring the Internet? – VisualPolitik EN

Why is South Korea Censoring the Internet? – VisualPolitik EN

Folks, South Korea is one of the most liberal
and democratic countries in Asia, as well as being – not surprisingly – one of the
most connected and technologically advanced countries in the world. The contrast with its impoverished and tyrannical
northern neighbor is striking – like the difference between night and day. And, in fact, here on VisualPolitik, we’ve
already talked about some of these differences in various videos. Because this time we’re not going to talk
about the South Korean economy or about its vertiginous market-oriented development, or
anything like that. In this video we’re going to talk about
the internet. You’ve probably heard that South Korea is
the number one country in the world in terms of volume of online connections. Check this out. South Korea has the most users connected to
fiber optic networks, almost 31% of its entire population. In addition, 96% of South Koreans have access
to the Internet, the largest percentage on the planet. They are also the third biggest social network
users; no less than 85% of all South Koreans use them regularly. To give you a better idea, this compares with
70% in the United States. And that’s not all. Nowadays, it’s also the country that markets
the fastest internet speed, 2.5 gigs of download that will soon become 10. And if that weren’t enough, it’s the country
with the highest smartphone penetration in the world. 94% of South Koreans have one. Basically, South Korea is super connected But, as if that weren’t enough… Korea – we’re talking south of course
– has the most implemented 4G network in the world, and has been one of the first countries
to market the now incredibly famous 5G. But… Okay… enough facts. You get
the picture, right? South Korea boasts great technological development
and an enviable telco market. But, folks, as we like to say on VisualPolitik…
take a closer look because not everything that glitters is gold. According to the NGO Freedom House, which
creates an annual benchmark index on network freedom, South Korea barely reaches the “partially
free” status. This basically puts it at the same level as
countries like Nigeria or Kyrgyzstan – which, as everyone knows, are exemplary democracies. But that raises the question… What exactly is happening in South Korea? Why do they have such a low level of network
freedom? Well, in this video, we’re going to discuss
a not-so-well known South Korean problem: Government control of the internet. (A CENSORSHIP TRADITION) All countries have their angels and demons,
and of course, South Korea is no different. South Korean democracy is very recent, it
barely started in 1988, and is still an imperfect democracy. Throughout its short life and without exception,
each and every one of its democratic presidents has had a clear tendency towards censorship
and information control. Whether due to a lack of political culture
or because of moral and cultural issues linked to their Confucian past, the State is still
very, very paternalistic and there’s a strong hierarchical vision of society. This means that elders and bosses are never
questioned. In addition, there’s a strong sense of community,
in comparison to the more individualistic and less rigid societies of the West. This reality explains why the country’s
leaders have felt justified in controlling certain aspects – often too many – of
people’s lives, and in limiting their citizens’ ability to express themselves freely. All this, of course, in the name of the common
good. This often involves controlling freedom of
speech and, of course, limiting criticisms of authority figures or the ruling political
party of the moment. However, folks, the government uses two issues
in particular to justify all its censorship activity:
protection against North Korea, and public morals. You see, in order to block content, the government
resorts to the National Security Law. A law that, among other things, prohibits
communism in practice, as well as any declaration in favor of North Korea or subversive ideas
that encourage the elimination of the State. This Law applies not only to the physical
terrain but also to cyberspace, for example, blocking or closing any web pages that speak
in favor of the northern regime. And then, there’s another key factor that
is becoming more and more important lately: The ban on pornography. Yes, you heard that correctly. South Korea is one of the few countries in
the world where pornography is explicitly prohibited. Specifically, since 2008. Actually it’s not just pornography but also
gambling and many online games that are blocked under the pretext of being “indecent websites”. But don’t think this is new… Not at all. See, a few years ago, between 2001 and 2003,
the then government of the center-left Nobel Peace Prize winner Kim Dae Jung, set about
blocking websites with homosexual content as if there were no tomorrow, because they
were, literally, “spaces of obscenity and perversion”. Quite a mild statement. Now, of course, if you want to be an ace censor,
that is if you want to chop and change the internet to suit your views, you need to organize
yourself. It is precisely due to that that in 2008,
the conservative president Lee Myung Bak created a public body to control the internet: The Korea Communications Standards Commission
or KCSC. This commission has the power to block and
even close websites without even requiring a court order. The problem, folks, is that instead of moving
towards an increasingly free Internet, South Korea seems to be heading backwards at full
speed. The most recent figures, from 2017, on websites
blocked and eliminated by the KCSC are simply scary. Nearly 67,000, 67,000 websites were blocked
and more than 15,000 were eliminated. In a single year! Come on, with this kind of data you could
say that things are getting out of hand… Folks, it is scary to see politicians blocking
and closing websites at will. And, on top of that, 2017 was the first year
since the commission first began to operate in 2008 in which the number of blocked and
deleted pages decreased a little. In other words, it was a good year. Wow. But, having reached this point, the question
that comes to mind is: how is South Korea censoring the Internet? How far can the government go to prevent the
population from accessing the “immoral”? And what’s even more important: Could VisualPolitik be considered an immoral
website? Well, let’s see. (A TANGLED INDEPENDENT CENSOR?) Folks, the truth is that censorship in the
South Korean network is very serious and not very transparent. And the key to all of this is in the KCSC,
which I mentioned a moment ago. This so-called independent commission, is
nestled within another, Korea’s Communications Commission or KCC. The KCSC regulates the internet and the KCC
regulates all means of communication. And the key question is, how do they work? Well, the KCC has five members, two of which
are directly appointed by the South Korean president, including its director. The other three are appointed by the National
Assembly, the country’s parliament. So… as you can see, a non-politically and
unbiased commission, quite independent… In this way, the KCSC, the commission that
regulates the internet, is responsible for identifying websites that violate any law,
sites such as pro-North Korean websites, pornography or online gambling, but also anything that
the agency considers as cyber-defamation or anti-military content. That’s when a content deletion, blocking
or total closure of the website request is issued to the KCC, which transmits it to the
media service provider, who must comply with the order. And folks, these kinds of requests aren’t
often rejected. Although, formally, the service provider has
15 days to appeal the request. The truth is that after the deadline, it is
the KCSC who decides what sanctions and punishments will be applied based on the Law and content
in question. Without any judge interfering at any time
in the process. What do you think? To us it sounds too much like outright censorship,
which clashes with the foundations of freedom and democracy. But that’s not all. In 2017, a new president came to power. Human rights lawyer Moon Jae In seized power
after a shady corruption scandal involving his conservative predecessor, Park Geun Hye. Many Western media painted him as a reformer
who would bring new progress to the country, but is it really like that in the field of
Internet freedom? Well… No… I can already say that isn’t the case. Listen up. (MOON JAE IN, HEAVY HAND AND A PRETTY FACE) You saw it here, on this channel. In a previous video we criticized Moon Jae
In for his economic management, but what about individual liberties, and more specifically,
the internet? Because we’re basically talking about a
center-left politician who has been trying to convey the image that South Korea has overcome
a dark era of corruption after the scandals of his predecessor, Park. Something that he did with a campaign that
washed his image with quite populist dyes. A campaign with which he obtained a chilling
approval rating of 80% among the South Koreans at the beginning of his mandate. Quite the popular fervor… In addition, his dialogues with North Korea
and summits with Kim Jong Un have also helped him to be seen as a man of peace and reconciliation,
both inside and outside of Korea. But, just a second, is it all as rosy as it
seems? Well… no. If his economic management is already leaving
quite a lot to be desired, in terms of individual liberties and network freedom… he isn’t
doing too well either. Censorship Is a Bipartisan Pursuit in South
Korea. The Diplomat.) Yes folks. According to a report by the Joongang Ilbo,
one of the three largest newspapers in South Korea, censorship in the Moon era has expanded
even more in the political arena. For example, the Moon government withdrew
funding from the only think tank in the United States that specializes in Korean issues,
the U.S.-Korea Institute, or USKI. Why? Well… it didn’t have to do with austerity,
but with USKI being critical of Moon’s overly friendly attitudes with Kim Jong Un and his
North Korean regime. Korea think tank at U.S. university to close
after Seoul withdraws funding. Washington Post) Mind you, the problem isn’t that he withdrew
financing from a Think Tank in Washington, but the idea of ​​using public money to
reward friends and punish critics. But, that’s not all. The most serious and most worrisome point
for the International Community, is the new form of censorship that Moon’s Government
has implemented on the Internet. It is considered “Chinese-style censorship”
because it’s the same method Beijing uses to block websites. Yes, you heard that correctly. South Korea is copying China in terms of freedoms. Surely you did not expect that. Since the start of this year, 2019, the South
Korean government has begun to open data packages from encrypted HTTPS website serves, which
are considered the safest. The KCSC used Server Name Indication, or SNI,
espionage to block 895 websites in February with this method. One of the websites blocked with this method
was, for example, (Pornhub) the largest pornographic website in the world. But, how does this method work? Well check this out, if the user tries to
access an https website considered “harmful” by the government, the KCSC opens the data
packages to find the server, whose information isn’t encrypted. That way, by knowing the server, the government
can block access to the ‘harmful’ sites. But that’s not all. If the government comes up with the key to
decrypt the information, it can even specifically see your internet visits and access personal
information such as your IP address. In short, Moon’s government could be spying
on every packet of data that South Korean netizens receive and choose to block access,
if it’s an unauthorized page. That is, it can control what each person does
on the internet at an individual level. Privacy? What’s privacy? And it goes without saying folks that this
isn’t typical of free and democratic regimes, or leaders with a conciliatory image, such
as Moon’s. Here at VisualPolitik, we love South Korea,
and we believe that it’s an exemplary country in most aspects. And it’s precisely because we love it that
we’re worried about this lack of network freedom. But now it’s your turn: Is the censorship and espionage of Internet
users justified in order to “maintain morals”? What do you think about the online control
framework that South Korea has developed? Is Moon really committed to freedom? Leave your answer in the comments and in this
survey. So I really hope you enjoyed this video, please
hit like if you did, and don’t forget to subscribe for brand new videos. Don’t forget to check out our friends at
the Reconsider Media Podcast – they provided the vocals in this episode that were not mine. Also, this channel is possible because of
Patreon, and our patrons on that platform. Please consider joining them and supporting
our mission of providing independent political coverage. And as always, I’ll see you in
the next video. And as always, thanks for watching!

100 thoughts on “Why is South Korea Censoring the Internet? – VisualPolitik EN

  1. Haha they recently got huge backlash for trying to censor their freedom.
    One of the funniest reason was that the AI responsible for sifting porn sites also banned birth control pill sites and it became a shitshow.
    Fuck censorship man, the internet is needed to expand your mind and perspective.

  2. ROK blocked hundreds of porn, gambling, toxic sites. So what? Only the free minded male population got upset. Yeh, Korea has strong controll over everything. But, Koreans love the fact there are CCTV everywhere, because crime can be stopped. The online law is strict, so there is a justice in www. And, hey, ROK is still at war with DPRK, they need to protect the cyber space as well. On the other hand.. you try to overthrow unwanted government by candle protests. If the ROK has control over media and control the thoughts of the mass population, why they did not stop it? Of course it is not perfect world. But if Koreans really want more freedom in cyber space, they will have it.

  3. You say you love korea, but you don’t bother to check how to pronounce Korean words or names before filming! Please do that next time!!!

  4. Those porn websites caused serious problems for years. Ex-girls' sex videos, the videos of my sister taking a shower etc… Some of the victims committed suicide and became big big controversy.. It's a tragedy that those websites were existed. But under the name of freedom, I don't think those websites should exist

  5. In fact, all the developed countries in this world have been implementing their own censorship programs. As a result we've been kept in dark and fed on shit for a long time….

  6. Interestingly, South Korean's almost censorship was controlled by the liberal or left-wing. it is so funny. For example, all porno web site was being blocked by the government. It is not related to the conservative position. it just controlled by Gender something issue. yeah, Feminist or Political correctness and something. They are making a new type censoring

  7. Porn blocking has been proven to be counterproductive. I live in Seoul and the minute my daughter turns teenager I'm moving. Women are as safe here as they are in India….maybe worse!!!

  8. I'm Korean. And I hate how they have ex-president Lee's pic for the thumbnail. Now internet censorship in South Korea is being implemented by crippling leftists including President Moon the sucker. They now try to censor Youtube Contents in an attempt to block any Conservative and Right videos that are against their regime. The true one to blame is not the ex-president, but the Moon Government.

  9. Guy, Pls change South KOrea president's picture. You posted former president. You must use incumbent president, Moon. He is leading internet censoring policy.

  10. This stuff is all relative. I have no qualms about websites like 8Chan being blocked or censored. Many vulnerable young kids get groomed online at sites like these. Would you be happy with people having free unfettered access to extreme Terrorist propaganda materials?

  11. Its not the goverment but the civilian sector… these so called 'insult offence' felonies are crazy… you can get sewed for anything… this law is exclusively in the interests of the rich and famous…

  12. Korea used to be corrupted in organized manner. Korea have many dictators. So even good regime is on, Corrupted system is still there.

  13. Can you talk about the high sex crimes in South Korea. It seems so advanced, but its rate of rape and sex crimes are up there with lawless countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and higher than any other nation in Asia. It seems like its more like KorAPea than Korea. More South Korean women also become prostitutes per capita than any other OECD economy and "exported" around the world. What causes this?

  14. Yep, went to SK for a 2 month internship a while ago. Couldn't even play LoL because they don't let me connect to the Japanese server for some reason and I can't even create an account because it requires a Korean ID. And god help you if you want to read hentai or access pornhub there lol.

  15. It's very rich for an American to compare South Korea to China, when the US is closer to China's level of freedom than South Korea.

    Democracy Index
    South Korea – 21st
    United States – 25th
    China – 130th

    Press Freedom Index
    South Korea – 41st
    United States – 48th
    China – 177th

  16. Please get rid of the third party voice-overs. They are totally redundant and seem as though they have been crobared in for no apparantly reason. Just do it in your own voice, it makes more sense and is far less arbitrary.

  17. ATTENTION VISUALPOLITIK: Your Title Opening is inaccurate. Instead of Trump, it SHOULD be Barack Obama, because Obama expanded the 2 Bush era wars to 7 countries with the help of Hillary Clinton. Trump merely inherited Obama's war mess.
    – VisualPolitik would be taken more seriously, if truthful or, at the least, politically neutral.

  18. Considering south Korea came from a Dictatorship, Its hardly surprising, as It came from repression and It would go back to repression based on Ideology.

  19. The government doesn't REALLY care if ppl use VPNs to go around. Basic Censorship still prevents the vast majority of ppl from seeing that content. Going around to censor VPNs will just cause more angry people.

  20. Man, they really need to look up the pronunciation of Korean names. Simon is an absolute butcher. I cringe every time. The only name he gets right is KJU.

  21. Thanks for revealing the inside of Korea politics to the world. I am student studying at korea univ . And I really hate Moon's plan regarding the Economic, the Military dependence, and the Censorship. As you say he has pretty face but hide his own desire to turn the Korea politic state into China's.

    The thing that I most afraid of is that our students don't have interested in their politic situation even though they are seeking a job which is only provided by the huge size company that is affected by government's rule. Additionally only a few korean media is broadcasting about the wrong policy from the government. Rest of them are busy hiding the fact.

    Freedom is priceless. I don't wanna lose it. And I hope our country get back to the normal.

  22. Exactly. an anti-porate – Ministry of Gender Equality and Family / bypass channel cutoff
    sexual minority hatred / Everything is in Korea

  23. The downside of not hearing any thoughts that are positive about NK means that you also never any counterarguments to the statement.
    When a Skorean and a Nkorean meet, the Nkorean will have arguments to praise the supreme leader while the Skorean will be baffled by all this new information and will wonder why he grew up being told the supreme leader is a bad man. The Skorean will realise he is the one being censored and that the Nkorean might actually be right.

  24. That clip of the Hypocrite Twins was pretty damn funny, but his acting is terrible. I'm gonna go check out a few of his vids and cross my fingers that the acting improves because comedy about politics is just something I NEED on a DAILY BASIS. I been raised with a HARD RIGHT father and a FAR LEFT mother, so when ever politics comes up, it's a BIG LOUD BRAWL. So I REALLY NEED relief from all the stress of being wrong AND right at the same time depends on which direction my head is turned :/ So THANK YOU for the introduction, Simon. 😀

  25. And due to this backwards mindset of theirs an airplane crash that could’ve been completely avoided occurred back in the 80’s.

    Also ban on pornography, where? They don’t seem to care about the current spycam epidemic going on, but if someone is tempted to consume drugs due to their depression, then it’s a scandal.

  26. Is it better or worse than the Chinese Internet Blocks Providers? I guess they don't block Google, Youtube ….

  27. You don't know the fact that Korean conservative party "자유한국당" and "우리공화당' is not really conservative.they are just corrupt politicians, not conservative politicians.

  28. I was born and raised in Seoul, but I been living in North America for last 43 years, I know both culture and politic well, In the name of economic well being sacrificed environment terribly back in 60's and 70's, we can't never reverse the effect of air quality and concrete jungles we are in now,, Moon jae in current president is a descendant of north Korean family got stuck in south Korea during Korean war, and he believes he is only one can reunify Korea, problem is if we reunify unconditionally, Korea will go bankrupt, as for freedom? we still have long ways to go, we are such a fuck up society, not even funny, I really like to see Korea with complete freedom of speech and liberty. I am little concern about what I just said? But I don't give a shit. I believe in freedom of speech,

  29. They are blocking porn from oversese.
    And that is because the current President of the country was caught watching Japan-made incest porn LOL

  30. South Korean here.

    VPN is not enough to bypass such blocks by the KCSC; if you are using a mobile network, your telecommunications provider blocks access to such websites even if you have a VPN and a HTTPS domain name. Thankfully, Wi-Fi networks under VPN protection can bypass the censorship, but I don’t know how long this would last either.

  31. Most South Korean, especially old people do not know that censorship on internet is detrimental on their democracy and freedom. They just think too much free expression is immoral. That's the force that censorship on internet could have been maintained. Even politicians who are considered progressive do not think the censorship is problem.

  32. South Koreans have not had any native liberalist ideology, so they are used in government control such as censorship.

    Please teach South Koreans true liberalism to make them stand up with such awkward censorship.

  33. Why did you use previous previous president's picture although you talk about internet censoring policy in 2019? It's not his fault. Current president(Mr.Moon) is the problem.

  34. Hi greetings from America.
    The south Korean censorship laws are legitimate.
    If south Korean became perverts
    And reprobates then the North will use that as ammo to launch an invasion.
    South Korea are within proximity of North Korea they have a common language which makes it's easy for the north to infiltrate and key infrastructures.
    It's important to keep a strong mind and a clean conscience.

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