Google Disables Uploads, Comments on YouTube Korea (Apr. 13, 2009) — Users of the Google’s Korean version of YouTube video portal have been disabled in reaction to a new Cyber Defamation Law, which came into effect on April 1 for all sites with over 100,000 unique visitors per day that requires users their real name and national ID card number.

youtube-logoIn response to the requirements Google has stopped users from uploading via its Korean portal rather than start a new registration system.

“We have a bias in favor of freedom of expression and are committed to openness, it’s very important that if users want to be anonymous that they have that chance.” said Lucinda Barlow, a spokeswoman for YouTube in Asia.

But while the move obeys the letter of the law it skirts around the spirit of it by allowing users based in South Korea to continue uploading and commenting on YouTube by switching their preference setting to a country other than Korea.

Already many major Korean portals and Web sites require users to provide their national ID card number when registering accounts but Google, which has a much smaller profile in South Korea than it enjoys in the west, does not ask for this information so the law would have also required it to build a new verification system.

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