Open Net Korea

22 October 2013 - A Open Forum on Regional & National Initiatives in Bali, Indonesia

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The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Eigth Meeting of the IGF, in Bali, Indonesia. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.


 

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>> We will start our open forum. With he will. I will be moderating this session. I want to thank you for coming here. We talk about the South Korean societies and their objective, and the views on the open Internet and how better way to encourage activities.

I would like to introduce two main presenters, activist Oh Byung‑il, and Keechang Kim.

After the main speakers speak, we will discuss regarding that. I have ‑‑ I hope we have informal discussion. So after panelists speak, we will get questions and comment or any forms of speech from floor. I think Mr. Oh, will start first.

>> BYUNG-IL OH: Thank you. My name is Byung‑il Oh. This is an open forum for introducing the Open Net Korea, but I have an opportunity to introduce the net intranet user forum, which is a coalition of many Korea civil societies, including Open Net Korea and WiBro net. I don't want to go into the ‑‑ the neutrality issue. Because there will be a net neutrality workshop tomorrow and there will be a coalition on net neutrality on Friday. So I just brief the net neutrality users forum.

Okay?

Last May, the famous Korean mobile app service Kakao launched a new service called voice talk. It raised the social debate on net neutrality in Korea because Korea telecom throttled the service in some price brand. But it's not the first that Voice Talk is the first app service blocked by the Korean telecom. Before that, before last year, many other services, such as Naval line and Skype, and Weber were throttled by the telecom.

But most of Korean press see these issues as a conflict between Korean telecom and content and service providers, but we don't select that. We ‑‑ Korean civil society see this matter as the future of the Internet. Of course, it's not a matter. Korean user can use the MVoIP service. We give the power to regulate the traffic of the Internet to the Korean telecom. So it's a matter of the future of the Internet so as a direct stakeholder, user have to be able to participate in the debate of the net neutrality matter. So ‑‑ but at that time, that's not a platform for users to participate in this discussion. Only the telecom ‑‑ the telecom and telecom companies and content and application provider has their own organisation to ‑‑ to ‑‑ through which their voice be heard in the society, but Korean users have no platform.

So we made the net neutrality users forum. It was launched last May ‑‑ on the May last year, which is composed of 11 organisations, including WiBro net and Open Net Korea and individual users and experts.

The objective of ONUF is, first to serve the current problem, the current matter, the current issues of blocking MVoIP's service by the Korean telecom. So we have ‑‑ we had many activities to protest against blocking the MVoIP service and the second objective is to open the government policy making process, because at that time, Korean government had managed the forum to make the policy and traffic guideline related to network neutrality. So we want to participate in that discussion, but the government policy forum was not ‑‑ was closed ‑‑ was managed in the closed manner. So we cannot participate in that discussion.

Third objective is to propose alterative policies and net neutrality. So we proposed several opinion documents to the government. Finally, we ‑‑ the net neutrality issues not an issue only in South Korea but the global issues. So we would like to ‑‑ we hoped to participate in global cooperation and dialogue. So as you know in the Internet Governance Forum, this year net neutrality Dynamic Coalition was launched so there would be the first meeting on Friday, but before that, we participated in the online discussion on net neutrality and to making the net neutrality model framework.

After launching last May, we had many activity, such as we had several open forums on the issues of net neutrality, and had a lecture and seminar for the public because most of Korean press or the users don't understand what is the issue of network neutrality and what is the concept and what is the problem in detail. So we try to make public awareness through various lectures and seminar. And we raised several legal actions.

Before launching the ‑‑ an NUF, WiBro net raised a question blocking the envoy to the Korean Communication Commission and Fair Trade Commission and the Human Rights Commission in Korea.

And in 20 ‑‑ last year in July, we filed the inspection of KCC for the dereliction of duty to both audit and inspection of Korea, because we thought ‑‑ thought the Korean Communication Commission, is to let the market and Korean government as a regulator don't touch the matter on net neutrality which is as a result allowed, the Korean telecom to block the MVoIP service. So, yeah, we thought we should ‑‑ Korean telecom market is monopolized by three telecom. So we thought to preserve the net neutrality, Korean government ‑‑ Korean telecom regulatory have to involve in the issues and do some action. And we issued many statements and opinion document.

And finally, we published the book "Speaking On Net Neutrality" early this year. This is for public awareness and, yeah, this book, but I'm sorry, but this is in Korean. If you have fun, you can translate in English.

The introduction of net neutrality user forum, I think this ‑‑ this introduction in NUF can be inspired to other country and be an opportunity to cooperate with other ‑‑ with user about other countries.

Thank you.

>> Yes, thank you. And then Professor Keechang Kim, the open net opens this year and I think it's very interesting.

>> KEECHANG KIM: Thank you very much. My name is Keechang Kim. I'm one of the directors of Open Net Korea, which was launched at the beginning of this year. I had a quick look at open forum. It's OECD is holding an open forum, Google is holding an open forum, Church of England is also open forum. IETF is holding an open forum. UNICEF. So it's big shots in the whole world scene and I'm very glad that IGF Secretariat felt it is useful for this precious time in 2013, IGF to allow an opportunity to introduce, what are the issues and what are the challenges facing Open Net Korea together with the progressive net and various other civil society groups in Korea.

Perhaps because South Korea poses some of the issues which are not unique to South Korean environment, which can have some universal impact not only in Korea, but in many other countries and/or so in the global Internet community. So I would like to share what we, open Net in Korea have been trying to grapple with.

Could I ask Jihwan to ‑‑ yes. Just a quick background information.

South Korea and the Internet, perhaps some people have already heard something about South Korea being broadband haven. South Korea is one of the countries where network connectivity is very, very advanced. And also at the age of mobile devices, South Korea is also excelling both in hardware manufacturing and also in the network connectivity infrastructure. So the rate of penetration of long‑term evolution grade of mobile network is also very high in Korea. But then what really makes Korean Internet interesting is the overzealous approach of policymakers and government officials. And that is what makes South Korean Internet very ‑‑ in some sense strange, and a lot of people cannot only Koreans but a lot of policymakers all over the world can make Korean examples as some kind of case study.

And then I listed some of the less desirable aspect of South Korea and the Internet. Many studies show that South Korea is among the temperature countries where Spam emails originate from, and this shows a lot of things about the situation of South Korea. Spam mail is spent from breached user machines. So that shows South Korea has very high rate of user machines which have been breached, which was securities not very nice ‑‑ maybe some would think that there are individual pieces, there are problems, why is it such a big deal?

But then I think the security individual PC, it's in the individual's possession, but it also has great deal of implication Internet, how secure the individual machines are maintained and that depends on policy as well. It's not only a question of the individual's ability, but it's also very closely connected to what kind of policy is implemented and enforced in that country.

South Korean policy somehow systemically provokes users to adopt a very risky behavior and also South Korean government required mandatory verification of user identity from 2007. That created South Korean Internet some sort of island insulated from the rest of the world and it was not good for the industry, not good for the content providers, Internet‑based content providers. It's not good for the users. It didn't do any good to the law enforcement agencies. In the end, it was considered to be a failure. So 2012 the constitutional court ruled that the legislation is unconstitutional.

So that legislation is gone, but then there is still a requirement, a legal requirement for identifying game users. The legislation which was declared unconstitutional dealt with posting any kind of writing or text or images, any kind of online content on some of the popular websites. That is declared unconstitutional, but there still exists legislation which requires game users to identify their true offline identity. The reason is to find out about whether they are of full age or whether they are minors.

In other words, protection of minor is still a legitimate concern and there exists legislation which aims to address that concern. But then that creates another huge problem, game industry suffers obviously a great deal, but policymakers and members of parliament ‑‑ the members ‑‑ the assemblymen, they think game industry can be oppressed.

Parents like this legislation. Parents feel that this legislation helps their children to work harder and somehow deal with the problem of game addiction, but then is it a workable scenario? That is a different issue. It seems to us, Open Net Korea feels the current legislation somehow gives a false impression that game addiction issues can be dealt with by some mandatory legislation, as if youngsters' problems of spending too much time on games playing can be dealt with by introducing a legislation.

If that was true, I would think that every country in the world would introduce that kind of legislation! I think in reality, game addiction is not such an easy problem. It is an issue which requires constant efforts on the part of parents and parents need to make an effort to engage their children and that kind of ‑‑ the inevitable effort somehow is hijacked by this legislation and lawmakers give misleading impression that their legislation would do magic, wonder and I don't think it can deliver.

And then another thing about Korean NIS, the national intelligence service, United States national security ‑‑ what is it ‑‑ agency, they were under a great deal of media sort of uproar regarding their intelligence gathering, data gathering, surveillance activities. South Korean National Intelligence Service has not been in similar scrutiny, but they were engaged in something somewhat more embarrassing. They were kind of deeply involved in Korean politics by anonymously posting some of the politically oriented theories, trying to influence the outcome of important elections and that also shows how state government organs can have some undesirable impact, trying to influence public opinion on the Internet by infiltrating and disguising as users.

I suppose South Korea is not the only government that does it. Some other governments also said to be engaged in similar activities, but that also shows a true ‑‑ I mean, a very honest face situation in South Korea and the challenges, South Korean Internet and Internet users are facing at the moment.

Next slide, please. And unlike some of the more rosy about South Korea being very advanced the undesirable aspect of South Korean Internet is quite numerous. I selected only a few of them. First, Roberts.txt as you all know, it can control the access of search engine, the search engine robots. If you run a website, you can decide which part of your website material should be available to search engines. If you normally, you wouldn't want to block search engines from indexing your material, because otherwise if you don't allow search engines, people won't be able to search you.

The problem is that a lot of government websites, public authorities, public bodies, who run a website, which is accessible to everybody, it's a publicly open, available, accessible websites, they do have information there. Sorry. But then they put Roberts.txt so that search engines cannot come in. So what's the point of having a website where people cannot search your website? So that's just a result of sheer ignorance on the part of those public bodies.

And then some other aspects is South Korea has a policy of banning export of map data. Map data, a lot of map data can contain sensitive information, but I'm not talking about those sensitive information. I'm talking about publicly available map data, bought South Korea insists that those map data must be stored in Korea. So Korean service providers can offer map service using those map data stored and operated in a server, located in Korea, but overseas service providers cannot operate Korean map data. That is bizarre! Because everyone in the world can ‑‑ if they connect to a Korean web service provider, for example, down.net, they can have access to Korean map data whether it's North Koreans or Chinese, whatever, anyone can have access.

But Apple, for example, or Garmin, they cannot make use of Korean map data and they cannot offer navigation service. That's a strange situation. Location data is different from map data. If you want to do business or write an application which uses location data, you have to report to government authorities. That's also very strange. And Korea has national PKI system, which requires every users to have digital certificate and that created a number of technical and business‑related problem.

There are also legislations which have been introduced by politically motivated assemblymen. One such legislation is that we have mandatory takedown rule. Many countries in the world have takedown ‑‑ notice and takedown regime for copyright infringement. So if you believe that your copyright is infringed by this particular posting, you can ask that posting to be taken down and site operator can just automatically take it down and then that is notified to the original poster, and if the poster believes that that does not infringe, then site operator can just resuscitate and then these two people can fight. That's a very well known system, many country have it and that removes the burden from site operator having to judge whether this infringes or not infringe. That's all okay, in my view, or at least that is, you know, more or less working in many countries.

However, South Korea has a different, in addition to copyright infringement notice takedown regime. In addition to that, we have a takedown legislation for generally all unlawful material, which is very, very vast and very often used for alleged defamation and politicians or big companies, they use this particular legislation to forcibly remove any content which they find a little bit embarrassing, somewhat uncomfortable. They allege this is defamatory, take it down and then site operators are obliged to take it down. This is a very serious infringement against freedom of expression on the Internet and this legislation is somewhat, you know, one of the few legislations in the world.

Also, we are facing more broad challenge which is necessitated by paradigm shift in copyright. Copyright is a very important issue in the internet. In the traditional world, where physical medium needs to be somehow delivered to the ultimate end user, you know, you need to buy a book and that physical medium somehow needs to be produced, stored, and inventoried and then when order is placed, it needs to be dispatched and then it needs to be delivered either it's a career service or poster service or high street shops, that physical media needs to change places and that's very expensive system of author having their content ultimately reach the consumer. That is a different world and copyright, I think regime served a purpose of paying to maintain that very elaborate distribution logistics.

But in the digital world, you don't need that expensive and elaborate distribution logistics. Also can have immediately reached audience all over the world at negligible cost. Do we still need copy right regime? Which was developed and which worked to pay for this very expensive distribution logistics whether we no longer need distribution logistics. Do we still need the conventional copy right protection regime? Are there more and better ways of paying and compensating authors? Those are the challenges we are facing.

Could we move on to the final slide.

Open Net Korea is dealing with these topics. We deal with freedom of expression issues, oppression from government, and also freedom from surveillance, and also reforming unreasonable regulations is an area where Open Net devotes quite a lot of resource. Net neutrality issue, telecom companies' decision, can it shape the future development of technologies? Can telecom company decide which new effort should be allowed and which other new efforts should be banned?

Also we are vigorously pursuing open data policy. So those are the issues we are tackling. And finally, if we move on to the next slide, we do these things. We do blogging. Blogging is mainly to give accurate and timely analysis of pending policy issues. To whom? To news reporters, I think. I think it is important that the media and news report, they are aware of the accurate information and accurate system.

And then we campaign for law reform. We approach assemblymen and we push legislation and we are also doing public interest lawsuits which my friend, Jihwan will speak a little bit more and we offer modest scholarships and research grants. And that's it for Open Net Korea.

>> Thank you. It's a very kind explanation. Yes.

Are there any questions or comments? Oh, yes. I think we should go to the discussion about this speech. Okay? We will introduce and discuss.

>> JIHWAN PARK: Hello, my name is Jihwan Park a lawyer working for Open Net. We have adopted campaigns in adapting the right policy and creating wrong policy in such a way that Internet users are directly involved, especially with regard to policies that are implemented through the laws, Open Net has represented the interest of users with respect to Internet policies in conjunction with other similar organisations, including WiBro Net and other NGOs in Korea by providing a direct and effective campaigns that can effect the legislation as well as the policies.

In some cases, it may be necessary to resolve the problem directly through a lawsuit. Therefore, we ‑‑ Open Net has performed several public interest in litigation this year, and I will briefly introduce some of the activities of Open Net Korea this year.

Firstly, Open Net filed an information disclosure lawsuit, again to the Ministry of Science, ICT and future planning in charge of net neutrality on material that had been discussed in the net neutrality advisory committee regarding data traffic management guideline. Because the government denied to disclose the meeting material to public. I think it is important to guarantee openness and equity to participating in setting net neutrality norm process. It's to guarantee anyone to full access to all information. That is why Open Net file the lawsuit.

And secondly, regarding civil action, SK telecom and KT, the major telecommunication companies in Korea have blocked lower data plan user cannot use the MVoIP service, using a 3g or 4G data network. Open Net, as well as with WiBro net and other user filed a lawsuit against SKT and KT for their practice of discriminating users arbitrarily, violated a fair competition law which prevents business or entity from abusing their market dominance and that was civil action that Open Net had filed.

Thirdly, we have several constitutional ‑‑ raised several constitutional lawsuits. Current Korean protection law and gaming distribution law impose identification duty as Mr. Kim has already mentioned, which means any user has to give his or her real name to access material that government issues as harmful to minors under 19, as well as online games. Open Net filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality regarding the right to and the free speech right this year.

And lastly, regarding legislation movement in Korea, current ejection public law ‑‑ the national PKI key when they buy something online exceeding $300, but national PK system in Korea that it's vulnerable to hackers attacks and it restricts competitivity of online security market. Open Net lawmaker drafted the revision of the electric financial transaction law, which allows other authentication methods as well as national PKI.

Mr. Keechang Kim has engaged in this issue for more than seven years and I hope he will elaborate on this issue after my presentation.

That was my preference and thank you for your attention.

>> Yes, thank you. I think the left time is very little. How about getting additional information from the panelists.

>> KEECHANG KIM: I'm sure we are all waiting for questions from the floor. Just one thing I would like to add about MVoIP lawsuit. Our argument is that whether you have cheaper monthly plan something like $40 a month or you have more luxurious monthly plan, you are buying your talk time and your text messaging and your data. It is something you paid for.

So even if you are going for cheaper monthly contract, still you have already paid for the data and you should be able to choose how to use your data and currently the telecom company only allows users who chose more luxurious, more expensive contract to have that freedom to decide what to do with the data you paid for. So that we feel that that is unreasonable discrimination, you know? Even if I chose a cheaper data plan, I paid for that literal amount of data and my money is ‑‑ is equally useful, worth while as people who chose bigger or more luxurious monthly plan. That's the main reason for our current lawsuit.

>> Are this any comment from remote participation? No? Okay.

I think to summarize, this speech, I think we should focus on the cooperation with people having same objective at the original or global level, not in the limited, in our national level. So I think today's open forum is a very good opportunity to ‑‑ okay. Yes. Yes, yes, I think we should share our ideas at the more developed level. So it's very good opportunity.

And then ‑‑ yes?

>> PARTICIPANT: Hello. Yes, let me comment. Possible Korea. South Korea, you are talking about the Internet, the infrastructure, typically we are ranked number one, number two, number three, top five. Then the economy to make money, also we top five. That's one aspect.

The other aspect, I just saw the Internet Freedom House report, they ranked Korea 19 along the Brazil, Uganda, and this discrepancy, why in some area infrastructure ‑‑ sort of with technology area, we are top five, and then, like, soft area, like Internet freedom, we are not too high. And this discrepancy is the one, I guess ‑‑ why we have so many NGO ‑‑ Internet NGO in Korea and that they are struggling to addressing the problem.

And the idea, we should have a similar ranking and then I guess this phenomena may not be unique in Korea. Maybe common to our neighboring country in Asia. So my suggestion is the ‑‑ oh, next year, let's try to get other NGO in our neighboring country, like a China, Japan, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and let each one of them sort of present five minutes each and then how about discussion.

Do we have something in common? Well, this is a unique to the Korea and a few countries. That's something we don't know yet. And then one advertisement. I'm the co‑moderator of the workshop the Thursday morning 9:00, this is the Internet Governance for new users. They are looking to the Internet Governance for the developing countries. And many developing countries have a similar problem of this discrepancy. And you may come to this session, 9:00 and then you may raise this issue of Korea. Either you can define Korea is a developed country in terms of the technology or developing country or under developed country in terms of those softer area. And we'll see.

And unfortunately, even though I'm the co‑moderator, I cannot end up meeting, because I have another workshop which I'm moderating. Thank you.

>> KEECHANG KIM: One of the reasons I think of, why there is this fairly big discrepancy, between technical advancement or economic advancement, on the one hand, and other, more complex issues surrounding the use of Internet is perhaps government officials have difficulty having accurate understanding of the ramifications of the policies they take. Quite often, government officials are approached by either industry or academia. So some companies who have come up with some sort of business ideas or some technology, hiding their agenda of making money, and they approach government officials with this very rosy description of the growth potential of this particular technology. And the government officials can easily be led to believe that this is the way forward and mobilize the public resource into this particular field.

Sometimes it's academia, the professors, who advise government officials, and, whichever is the case, in Korea so far, the result is that officials somehow invoke power and mandatory. Some form of mandatory, some form of forcible reallocation of resources are taking place. So that market selection or selection by technical excellence do not work. It's the policy decision which cripples of future course of development and that's what happens with regard to national PKI. This morning, I heard from participants from Kenya or Vietnam, and some other countries who come to me and say, their government are also about to introduce this digital certificate and actually, it's South Korean government would kind of paid those governments to adopt PKI. If it is a good technology, why does government have to go around and pay money so that these other governments buy this structure?

I think it's a good technology, it should be able to survive in the market, and when government is involved to promote a particular technology, I think it's the clearest sign that that technology is bound to fail, and this is a very endemic problem of South Korean policy making regarding Internet. Government is supporting the technology which is no longer viable in the market simply because at some point, some industry interested party approached officials or academic professors advised governments wrongly.

>> Oh, yes.

>> PARTICIPANT: Just a simple comment to the question of the discrepancy of broadband heaven and bad public policy regarding Internet. One of my observations is that particularly in Korean society, government telecommunication policy is seeking some kind of industrial policy, economic growth policy rather than communication policy. You know, in Korea, telecommunication regulation authority, they definitely are undertaking the telecommunication policies. They are thinking in terms of industrial growth, rather than communication policy. That's one of the serious problems that we are facing. So government officials and bureaucrats are thinking technology or technological service as an economic resource or communication good rather than communication environment. That's one of the problems we are facing.

The other aspects of the policy discrepancy is that ‑‑ as professor Keechang Kim had just mentioned government officials are part of broadband heaven. Even not only for government officials, even the end users are thinking in the same way because definitely our broadband environment is very, very excellent, very, very good. So the end users, their major concern is how to enjoy and how to use this kind of environment for their own purposes rather than the general atmosphere, the ecosystem of Internet, which those public policies regarding Internet is greatly affecting society in general.

So edge in some ‑‑ only sometimes in some specific ‑‑ specific time when the end user environment would be severely affected by these incidents. They are awakening our Internet ecology is not so good, but they are not effectively organised themselves to counter against these kind of bad policies. I think that's the other aspects of the problems. That's just my observation.

>> Yes, thank you. We are out of time. We are almost done. We have to finish. Thank you for participating in the session, and see in the opening ceremony. Thank you.

(Applause).

(End of session 12:22)

FINISHED TRANSCRIPT

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EIGHTH INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM

BALI

BUILDING BRIDGES ‑ ENHANCING MULTI‑STAKEHOLDER COOPERATION FOR GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

OCTOBER 22, 2013

10:45 A.M

FLASH SESSION

OPEN NET KOREA

 

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This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication access realtime translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.

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