Rising Cyberviolence Mirrors Sci-Fi

Credit: Darren Hester/MorgueFile (Image credit: Darren Hester/MorgueFile)

Cyberviolence, a form of vigilante "justice" in which a large group of Internet users post attacks against an individual, are increasing in South Korea.

In Seoul, a 30-year-old accountant named Kim Myong Jae became theNo. 1 hate figure of South Korea's huge Internet community.People who belied that he had killed his girlfriend flooded his cell phone with threats and visciousmessages, while a wide variety of meanspirited rumorswere posted on blogs and Web portals, where they spread quickly.

"By the time I found out the source of this outrage, it was too late. My name, address, photographs, telephone numbers were all over the Internet," Kim said. "Tens of thousands of people were busy sharing my identity and discussing how to punish me. My name was the most-searched phrase at portals," Kim stated.

Complaints about similar kinds of cyberviolence have proliferated on theSouth Korean Internet. Complaints filed with the government's KoreaInternet Safety Commission more than doubled to 42,643 last year from18,031 in 2003.

Dozens of people have been indicted on charges of criminal contempt orslander for writing or spreading malicious insults. This month, SouthKorea's National Assembly will debate a bill to require bulletin boardsand web portals to authenticate the identity of posters.

Science fiction writers anticipated the idea of cyberviolence ageneration ago. In his classic 1975 novel ShockwaveRider, John Brunner wrote about a solution to cyberviolence. Oneway to do it was to create and set loose a tapeworm that would track downcyberviolent attacks.

He sent a retaliatory worm chasing Fluckner's. That should take care of the immediate problem in three to thirty minutes, depending on whether or not he beat the inevitable Monday morning circuit overload. According to recent report, there were so many worms and counterworms loose in the data-net now, the machines had been instructed to give them low priority unless they related to a medical emergency. (Read more about tapeworms)

Found this story on digg.(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission fromTechnovelgy.com - where sciencemeets fiction.)

Bill Christensen catalogues the inventions, technology and ideas of science fiction writers at his website, Technovelgy. He is a contributor to Live Science.