In the digital age, couples that break up are finding ruder and cruder ways of saying goodbye, forcing online social networking services and Net portals to tighten security.
In the wee hours of Monday morning, one high school boy whose ex-girlfriend recently began dating his friend began posting photos of the girl and other private information along with libelous comments about her on DCinside, a popular Web site.
Many Internet users flocked to her homepage from a link provided by the ex-boyfriend. The high school girl later posted her (very different) side of the story on the Internet, but not before thousands of people had already visited her Web site and photos of her were circulated throughout major portals.
Such personal relationship stories would not make it into mainstream media were it not for the public rants that sore ex-lovers feel the need to post on the Internet. Some cases involve public figures, such as a television news anchor who married a Hyundai heir last year.
Because of these problems, social networking services such as Cyworld and blog services such as Naver are offering more “personalized” privacy services. Cyworld recently enabled users to block specific individuals. Naver users can now choose to make their blog posts unavailable to the portal’s search engine, and can prevent visitors from copying text and images from their blogs.
Portals are taking these measures because individuals wish to continue their online activities, but these Web scandals have pushed up demand for higher levels of security, especially when private content is involved.
“Punishment for people who circulate private information can only be taken if the defamed individual files a suit, and laws in Korea make suing for defamation extremely difficult,” said Sohn Su-yul, an attorney at the law firm Taepyeongyang.
Wohn Dong-hee for JoongAng Daily