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Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« on: February 12, 2014, 10:28:13 am »
Interesting article talking about censorship of the internet in SK from the Economist

Quote
SOUTH KOREA likes to think of itself as a world leader when it comes to the internet. It boasts the world’s swiftest average broadband speeds (of around 22 megabits per second). Last month the government announced that it will upgrade the country's wireless network to 5G by 2020, making downloads about 1,000 times speedier than they are now. Rates of internet penetration are among the highest in the world. There is a thriving startup community (Cyworld, rolled out five years before Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, was the most popular social network in South Korea for a decade) and the country leads the world in video games as spectator sports. Yet in other ways the futuristic country is stuck in the dark ages. Last year Freedom House, an American NGO, ranked South Korea’s internet as only “partly free”. Reporters without Borders has placed it on a list of countries “under surveillance”, alongside Egypt, Thailand and Russia, in its report on “Enemies of the Internet”. Is forward-looking South Korea actually rather backward?

Every week portions of the Korean web are taken down by government censors. Last year about 23,000 Korean webpages were deleted, and another 63,000 blocked, at the request of the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), a nominally independent (but mainly government-appointed) public body. In 2009 the KCSC had made just 4,500 requests for deletion. Its filtering chiefly targets pornography, prostitution and gambling, all of which are illegal in South Korea. But more wholesome pursuits are also restricted: online gaming is banned between midnight and 6am for under-16s (users must input their government-issued ID numbers to prove their age). Sites from North Korea, including its state newspaper, news agency and Twitter feed, are blocked, as are those of North Korea's sympathisers. A law dating back to the Korean war forbids South Korean maps from being taken out of the country. Because North and South are technically still at war, the law has been expanded to include electronic mapping data—which means that Google, for instance, cannot process South Korean mapping data on its servers and therefore cannot offer driving directions inside the country. In 2010 the UN determined that the KCSC “essentially operates as a censorship body”.

Some Koreans are resisting. In 2011 Park Kyung-sin, a dissenting commissioner, posted a picture of Gustave Courbet’s “L’Origine du monde” on his blog, in protest at the KCSC’s order to block a picture of a man’s genitals—like that found in a science textbook—that he had previously posted on the same blog. He was convicted and fined, though the charges were later lifted. In 2012 a 15-year-old Korean cyber-game champion was locked out of a game of "Starcraft II" while playing after midnight in a competition that was taking place during the day in France. (By the time he reconnected, by entering the details of a parent’s ID card, he had lost the match.) The watchdog has no sense of humour: in 2012 a photographer received a suspended ten-month prison term for retweeting a series of North Korean propaganda posts, likening his inheritance of his father's studio to the North’s leadership transition. Park Dae-sung, a blogger who posted prophecies on the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the crash of the won in 2008 under the pen name of Minerva, spent 104 days in prison for “spreading false rumours”.

Critics spy political interference. In 2004 internet users were required to input their names and ID numbers on political comments in the run-up to an election. In 2009 those posting any comments on websites with over 100,000 daily visitors were required to do the same. That law has since been rescinded. But although the government is beginning to ease some restrictions, it is stepping up its monitoring of social media. The KCSC set up a special sub-committee on social media in 2011, and the following year asked for 4,500 comments on Twitter, Facebook and the like to be removed—13 times more than in 2010. Last year the number of comments deleted increased again, to 6,400. Some officials seem to enjoy posting rogue comments as well as deleting genuine ones. A group of intelligence agents are now under investigation for allegedly posting thousands of messages under false identities in support of Park Geun-hye, now South Korea’s president, in the run-up to the 2012 election. (There is no evidence that Ms Park had ordered this.) In December she said that the government needed to “correct the wild rumours spreading through social network services”, referring to public outcry at the privatisation of railways and health care. South Koreans may enjoy unusually speedy internet connections, but they are not allowed to use them freely.

source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/02/economist-explains-3


  • confusedsafferinkorea
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Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 11:28:27 am »
I like two things about Korean internet, it is cheap and fast, but after that.... meh.

The fact that you have to use IE for just about everything sucks.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


  • specter13
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Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 11:30:07 am »
I like two things about Korean internet, it is cheap and fast, but after that.... meh.

The fact that you have to use IE for just about everything sucks.

That and most of their websites look they have moved past the 90s in web design.


  • Quaelyn
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Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 11:39:08 am »
I like two things about Korean internet, it is cheap and fast, but after that.... meh.

The fact that you have to use IE for just about everything sucks.

And it's not even necessarily all that fast depending on what websites you're going to. I really don't see much of a speed difference overall between here and the internet I had back in the States (and I lived in small towns).


Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 11:51:51 am »
Yeah the internet is a joke here because of usability problems. Insistence on IE which is very convenient for Chaebol pop-up ads and corporate spyware. Then they force you to use joke antivirus programs like AhnLab, again more corporate spyware.

I think part of it is that most people do internet stuff with smartphones, which is more limited in usability anyway, and mobile sites here seem to suffer the same problems that PC-oriented Korean sites do. They probably aren't any safer but they aren't such a pain to use. Computers are too expensive for a lot of people, and internet isn't cheap either. We all know how stingy Koreans are, yet ALL of them have the latest smartphones, from random farmers to children. I think once they're paying for a smartphone it's hard to justify the price of a computer and internet etc for something they can already do. It's why PC Bangs are still so popular, just go there for gaming and pay $1 an hour to use a computer you couldn't afford to buy.

Other stuff that cracks me up is Korean computer wiring, or any electrical wiring here. The desks in my office are powered by about six power strips that are each plugged into one another in a chain.

Or how about how Koreans never ever take off the pieces of plastic attached to computers and monitors, even when it's some little sticker card thing that blocks part of the screen.
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  • Chadwickhhs
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Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 02:29:42 pm »
My internet isn't even that fast. I mean it would be fast in America but it's basically what I got in Brooklyn. It's supposed to be 50mbps wifi/100 ethernet but I get like 12 on both.

I've had them come twice to check it out and they ping it to their servers which obviously give false non-throttled values.

The censorship is definitely a hassle. As are the annoying certificates and apps that you need to do for all online shopping. They clearly don't help. Wasn't there some huge leak recently?


  • tchris_atl
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Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 02:51:48 pm »
I wish I could repost from reddit as fast as this guy. But yeah I can't even use google on my school's computer anymore because of some security authentication. I have to use spotflux for pretty much everything.


Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2014, 03:01:45 pm »
not only is south korea's internet censored, but so is its media / press. but given the day and age of the internet, social media, etc., one would assume that a country, whose constitution is based on democracy, would allow its citizens to freely expression their opinions, thoughts or grievances. but here one can go to jail or get a fine for just criticizing or making fun of the government. yet, korea calls itself democratic. democratic....mmm.... to an extend!!! 

http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/south-korea#.UvsZeWJ_tEI
http://www.fletcherforum.org/2012/12/20/shim/
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 03:05:56 pm by yippeekayay »


  • philby1985
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Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 03:20:24 pm »
Computers are too expensive for a lot of people, and internet isn't cheap either.
IMO the computer to person ratio is similar to any other modern country. As far as internet isn't cheap goes, for you that may be the case, but most ISP's offer family discount plans. Thanks to my wife's family, we pay 20,000 won a month for unlimited internet that is actually very fast (I guess I'm one of the lucky few).
http://www.speedtest.net/result/3244706946.png 

It's why PC Bangs are still so popular, just go there for gaming and pay $1 an hour to use a computer you couldn't afford to buy.
I've asked my students why they go to PC Bangs. They tell me it is so they can get away from their parents and play games without being hassled to study.


Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2014, 03:41:41 pm »
I do wonder what Koreans are paying because us foreigners often complain about

I signed up with KT for "100mbps" internet for about $38 a month. Used speedtest on it and I get about 10mbps, and it definitely feels about this fast. There's definitely a lot of throttling if you use foreign sites. For some reason I was getting 95mbps for a while, and I'd get really fast downloads from sites like Steam, then after a while it went back to 10mbps. Got a KT guy to look at it and his KT server crap was saying 100mbps. I think it's to do with the way the Korean internet is connected to the outside world. Even if you are Korean and use Korean websites, you're still sitting around waiting for Internet Explorer 6 to shuffle its hamster wheel...

As for computers per person, this seems to say SK is stuck at about 54% computer per capita, while the US and UK are at 80%. I dunno how they define computer though, and I really don't trust any stats about anything in South Korea (let alone the rest of Asia with their face-saving obsession).

http://www.econstats.com/wdi/wdiv_597.htm

I've asked Koreans if they have computers at home, a lot of them do but it's something really old because they can't afford a new one. And computers and laptops really are expensive here compared to US prices, and people here generally don't make a lot of money. Koreans like new smartphones and new cars and saving money, and I think after that they feel isn't a lot of money left over. So they just use their smartphones for everything internet-related--they already have it, and data plans here are pretty reasonable, so why not. There's a lot of apps they can use for stuff, they're infested with ads too but they aren't anywhere as annoying to use as trying to use IE6 to access a Korean bank website.

Being able to get out of the house and hang out with your friends (and smoke cigarettes and wolf down ramen) is a big part of pc bangs, but so is getting to use a gaming computer rather than your dad's old dinosaur computer.
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Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32 PM
    Trump is a liar and a con man.
Quote
Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07 pm
Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit


  • philby1985
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Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 04:06:19 pm »
As for computers per person, this seems to say SK is stuck at about 54% computer per capita, while the US and UK are at 80%. I dunno how they define computer though, and I really don't trust any stats about anything in South Korea (let alone the rest of Asia with their face-saving obsession).

I'd be interested to see some more recent stats. I wonder if growth in south Korea slowed because they leapfrogged the "PC" revolution and went to things like tablets and smart phones. I know for a fact that PC sales have been slowing for a couple of years now in Australia/America/Europe in favour of people using tablets for their facebook/email needs.


  • auster
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Re: Why South Korea is Really an Internet Dinosaur
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 04:11:48 pm »
Your post couldn't be more timely for me. I went to use IE for the first time in months today - low and behold the homepage wouldn't upload. I ran all the updates and restarted my PC after an hour. Same result. All this has been triggered because I went to renew my banking certificate after losing my USB that contained the original certificate two years ago. I've managed without internet banking for two years because of how terrible IE and NH online banking is. Why the fixation with IE? Utter nonsense. I have two weeks left here and need online access from my home country to remit money from NH Bank. First stumbling block, IE - this is going to be a fraught two weeks. This country is not as technologically advanced as it likes to think it is.