Community Sites: a Portal to Crime

ChosunIlbo (translation) March 6, 2007

Some 30 cyber crime investigators from the national Police Agency gathered Monday to discuss the growing threat of crime posed by community sites. Community sites or discussion boards are both a blessing and a curse of the information superhighway. Allowing users to find like-minded people the world over, they also offer new opportunities for crime. Fraud, defamation, gambling, stalking, the sale of drugs and even murder, officers say, are facilitated by the Internet.

In a high-profile case in December, a man identified as Lee was arrested for forgery of official documents which he had advertised on an Internet portal. Lee charged between W250,000 (US$1=W951) and W1 million for transcripts for college, TOEIC certificates, university graduation certificates, proof of seals, resident registration forms, international driver’s licenses and other 300 documents. From fake cigarettes to body organs, stolen motorcycles to drugs, almost everything is bought and sold online.

There is also plenty of instruction if you want to become a criminal yourself. Community sites will discuss way of getting and using drugs and even allow users to initiate deals.

Then there is defamation and privacy violation. Recently, a 45 second clip posted online showed a junior high school girl being raped. Fortunately, when police investigated, it turned out to be a fake. But all too often the footage is real.

Monday’s meeting decided to compel people to use their real names on the Internet when installing and operating a notice board on a site with an average 100,000 daily users. Whether that will help remains to be seen: past efforts by some portals to enforce real-name use have failed.

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