Friday, April 05, 2013

"Anonymous" Hacking of NK Website Leads to McCarthyian Witch Hunt in SK

The "hacktivist" group "Anonymous" made news by hacking into North Korea's propaganda websites, and seizing control of North Korean propaganda machine's Twitter and Flickr accounts. (One important note here: regardless of what they claim, it is extremely unlikely that Anonymous hacked into North Korea, as North Korea's propaganda sites are based out China.) 

Anonymous demands that Kim Jong-un resign and install direct democracy in North Korea. At the same time, apparently in order to prove that they indeed hacked into North Korea's propaganda site, Anonymous released the information of the membership of that website--the email addresses, date of birth and other personal information of more than 9,000 members of the propaganda site.

Well, these self-proclaimed freedom fighters probably did not anticipate what would have followed. It was apparent from the email addresses that many of them were of South Korean origin. For example, more than 1,400 email addresses ended in, a large email servicer in South Korea. Out of the 9,000 email addresses, more than 2,000 appear to be of South Korean origin. Seizing upon this, the South Korean far-right wingers engaged in a campaign of Internet stalking to indiscriminately reveal actual names, addresses, occupations and phone numbers of the South Korean individuals who joined the North Korean propaganda site.

As of this moment, there is simply no guarantee that the email addresses that Anonymous revealed in fact belong to North Korean sympathizers. From the emails, the opposite is more likely to be the case, as many of the emails belong to South Korean news organizations. The email addresses even include South Korean National Assembly and the conservative New Frontier Party. There is also the concern that the email addresses were fake or misappropriated. Some of the emails, for example, belong to the email of the webmasters that are publicly on display on large-scale websites.

But such subtleties are completely lost on South Korean right-wingers, who consider North Korean sympathizers to be the absolute evil that must be destroyed at all costs, even if the cost include basic civil liberties for democracy. Already, several South Koreans received a flood of emails and phone calls, shouting obscenities and death threats. South Korea's Supreme Prosecutor's Office vowed to investigate the South Korean members of the site as well, turning this episode into a veritable witch hunt.

Partly because the tyranny of North Korea is so horrific, it is often lost on people that South Korea's own fascist tyranny in the recent past was not much better than North Korea's communist tyranny, and the traces of such fascism still exert strong influences in South Korea. So we might soon see the tragicomedic spectacle of more than 2,000 South Koreans lined up to be prosecuted for daring to browse through a North Korean website.

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  1. Could NK have the last laugh after all? Perhaps they faked a list of email addresses, knowing the likely reaction if the list was ever exposed - and cleverly directing the target away from their true supporters. Scary thought.

  2. while researching for a paper, I found this quote from Kim Dae Jung, addressed to Roh Tae-woo, about allowing South Koreans to travel to North Korea:
    "Do you really feel that our people are simpletons who while somehow choose to support communism, simply because a few students return from North Korea and sing its praise?"

    The reasoning for banning North Korean media in south korea is based on the assumption that South Korea's people are "simpletons" so easily swayed by reading some propaganda, that un-blocking a twitter account and a few URLs will lead to a communist revolution. I'm sorry, but I have more respect for the critical thinking of South Koreans, and their ability to see the proof for themselves, that the ideology preached by North Korea leads nowhere.

    If North Korean media were readable in the south, it would get mocked roundly, and that would remove any power it was thought to have had by the leaders who think Koreans are still simpletons.

    By banning and making it illegal to follow/read material from North Korea, the Southern government actually gives it MORE power -- in the same way as gradeschool kids seek out the books their parents don't want them to read.

    All that to say, it's stupid that South Koreans aren't supposed to follow uriminzok on twitter, or read the KNCA website, and it's exponentially stupider that some of the names and e-mails on the list released by Anonymous (smooth move dumbasses) might face consequences for their curiosity.

    1. Here is another story you would like. When he was an attorney, Roh Moo-hyun was defending someone who was charged under the NSA for "praising the enemy." With his infamous fiery temper, Roh lashed out in his oral argument:

      "Suppose there is a boxing match between Ali and Foreman, and Kim Il-sung is rooting for Ali. If one roots for Ali in that case, is that also 'praising the enemy'?"

      Prosecutor Choi Seong-guk, who later would become a GNP Assemblyman, retorted: "Please refrain from praising the northern puppets!"

    2. So, the answer was yes?

  3. Perhaps The Korean has discussed this in previous posts, but why did neither Kim Dae Jung or Roh Moo-hyun manage to repeal or revise the National Security Law during their combined decade in power? Did they try?

    1. KDJ never had the majority in the National Assembly, so he could not even try. RMH had a very thin majority once, so he tried. But RMH pissed off a significant faction within his own party, and that faction did not back RMH in that instance to screw with him. Also, the GNP was literally barricading the main chamber of the National Assembly.

    2. That certainly helps explain some of it, thank-you!

  4. If PSY kicking a traffic cone is deemed subversive and dangerous, then I guess, yeah, South Korean elected leaders DO think the electorate are a bunch of simplistic morons. Sad.


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