The National Police Agency (NPA) has shut down a Twitter account under the name of the shuttered porn site Soranet, but that isn't keeping computer users from accessing the illegal site. / Korea Times
By Kim Tong-hyung
Twitter (www.twitter.com), the global Internet phenomenon, now appears to be raising the dead.
In the summer of 2004, police shut down Soranet, a porn site, which had more than 600,000 subscribers at the time of the clampdown, and nabbed more than 60 people for having involvement in the site's operation.
Six years later, Korea's most popular porn site ever looks to have gained a second life through micro-blogging, while exposing the holes in the country's Web filtering.
The new Twitter-armed Soranet is clearly more elusive than the older version, and seems to be creating a following just as impressive.
By the time the National Police Agency (NPA) blocked it on Wednesday, Soranet's Twitter account had garnered more than 100,000 followers. This made it the country's third most popular Twitter account, behind the Web pages of figure skating starlet, Kim Yu-na and novelist-and-television personality, Lee Woe-soo.
Twitter allows users to broadcast their real-time status to computers and Web-enabled mobile devices and is gaining increasing attention for its potential as a business tool. And, apparently, online porn providers seem to have things figured out.
The Twitter account under the name of Soranet was established last June and provided followers with instant updates on Internet protocol (IP) addresses that allowed loop-around access to the blocked Soranet site.
And although the police made an obvious move to block Soranet's main Twitter page, millions of "tweets" had already been sent.
It appears that anyone with basic Internet skills would be able to gain access to Soranet. Type "indirect access to Soranet" in Korean, and Google generates more than 900,000 search results.
"You can't expect us to track all the tweets. And since Twitter is provided by a foreign company and operated by a U.S.-based server, our options for combating these online porn services are severely limited," said an official from the Korea Communications Standards Commission, the country's censorship authority for broadcasting and Internet content.
The changing Web environment, triggered by the rise of social media, which in turn is feeding the demand for Web-enabled smartphones such as iPhones and BlackBerries, has Korea struggling to defend its Internet rules and guidelines.
Authorities here seem confused on how to handle Twitter, a foreign service that is partly blog and partly instant-messaging, as seen by the decision by the National Election Commission (NEC) to block "political" tweets ahead of local elections, an attempt that may prove as futile.
And the globally consistent content platforms for smartphones and other mobile devices, such as the Apple App Store, are ruffling the feathers of censorship authorities here, as they contain a wealth of programs that are deemed as inappropriate or excessively suggestive by local standards.
트위터, 한국 포르노 사이트 도피처
세계적인 인터넷 서비스 트위터 (www.twitter.com)는 죽은 웹사이트도 다시 살리나보다.
경찰이 60만명의 가입자를 확보 하고 있던 포르토사이트 `소라넷'을 폐쇄하고 운영자 60명을 체포한 것은 2004년 여름의 일이었다.
그 후 6년 소라넷은 마이크로블로깅을 통해서 다시 살아나 제 2의 전성기를 구가 하고 있는 듯하다.