We have seen many attempts to censor the Internet under the pretext of copyright protection. Notorious attempts are SOPA and PIPA of 2012, which triggered the largest online protest in history and was eventually withdrawn, and ACTA, a plurilateral trade deal killed by the European Parliament in 2012.
Now, Korean government tries to enact a much stronger internet censoring rule. If it passes the legislative body, a copyright protection agency may cut off access to websites that the agency views as copyright infringing. The concerns over mass surveillance and privacy vulnerabilities by the proposed rule are widespread amid the government’s new drive to block “https” traffic by SNI eavesdropping (See, press release of Korea Communication Commission on February 12, 2019 and press release of MCST on May 2, 2018, both in Korean).
According to the proposed bill, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) may order internet connection service providers, or ISPs, to block users’ access to foreign websites that allow unauthorised sharing of copyrighted materials (proposed Article 133bis (1)(iii)). Also, Korea Copyright Protection Agency (KCoPA), a governmental body, may recommend ISPs to take the blocking measure (proposed Article 133ter (1)(iv)). The bill, having passed the relevant committee in December 2017, is waiting for approval of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, the final hurdle before the plenary session.
Knowledge Commune mobilised civil society groups to launch a campaign to prevent the Amendment from passing the National Assembly. For more information, please visit our campaing website.