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Freedom of 'anonymous' expression?

16 0 2
By Jason Lim

Freedom of expression is enshrined in the constitutions of all democratic nations, but does that mean that there is also a freedom to express oneself anonymously? This is not a new question, but has taken on an enhanced salience due to the recent attack on the Capitol by Americans who were motivated by disinformation and radicalized by QAnon conspiracy theories. Some of the disinformation were propagated by known and verifiable personalities, but much has been fanned by anonymous voices. Exhibit 1 is the "Q" of the QAnon, who is still unknown.

Korea actually tried to legislate this problem away back in 2007 when there was a dawning appreciation that cyberbullying hidden behind the cloak of anonymity was becoming a serious social problem. The National Assembly passed a law that mandated that people's real identities be validated through their social registration number and actual names used in any posting or other online activities. The driving rationale behind the law was that online anonymity afforded a lack of transparency and accountability that gave rise to irresponsible behavior by the netizens.

It failed for a variety of reasons. However, the biggest finding was that such law, even when enforced, failed to curve online behavior, especially misinformation that was often sensational. According to a 2013 paper by David A. Caragliano,........

© The Korea Times

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