Google, the world’s largest Internet company, has finally submitted to South Korea‘s unprecedented Internet regulations, including agreeing to implement a “real name” system in which any South Korean can post their contents only after they confirm their resident registration number.
Here's an earlier overview I did of Google's problems in Korea. Given that both it and Youtube have such a small market share in Korea, and are prone to xenophobic backlash and, at least for school teachers, occassional censorship by school boards, I wish they would have just pulled out. It's not like either site would have been unavailable in Korea, it just wouldn't have been available in Korean-language. Pulling out would have proven a point---both here and internationally---and would have allowed them to retain some credibility, rather than simply caving into local pressure.
The article closes with:
Google Korea representatives have further indicated that they will create a way for foreigners living in South Korea to access YouTube using foreigner registration numbers. “Foreigners living in South Korea have a right to use YouTube too,” a representative said.
No shit, it's a foreign company, fuck face. If they knew they were going through with this censorship, ironing out the foreign ID situation should have been the first order of business, given that non-Koreans are far more likely to turn to YouTube than anywhere else.
* Update: Chris has done a longer, better post on this news. Perhaps the most significant thing I took away from his post is how, well, the news didn't make the news.