On November 9th, public outrage and discussion about the distribution of illegal pornography on the Internet cloud service was raised due to the arrest of Yang Jin-ho, the chief executive officer (CEO) of WeDisk, a company that provides a cloud storage service.
The Background and Concept of the Webhard Cartel
An assault case concerning Yang Jin-ho, the CEO of WeDisk, where he was accused of slapping and swearing at an employee, occurred in April 2015. On October 30th, 2018, the victim of his crime disclosed the video clip, which resulted in the arrest of Yang Jin-ho on November 7th. In addition, there have been some suspicions that his company, WeDisk, illegally circulated pornography, including spycam footage, and earned a significant amount of money from it. The public has argued that a proper solution is needed for cybersex crimes and that the punishment of the crimes should be reinforced. This movement has been ongoing since July, when a petition to the Blue House regarding the web cloud storage industry was uploaded.
|The Structure of the Webhard Cartel (yonhapnews.co.kr)|
In addition, some people have raised suspicions regarding the “webhard cartel,” which refers to agreements among spycam industries for the purpose of a monopoly in the market. How the webhard cartel is operated can be seen in the relationship between companies and heavy uploaders who upload a significant amount of videos. They provide filtering companies, which hide uploaded illegal videos from the police, and “digital undertakers” which delete illegal videos before receiving penalties from the police with sexual materials. Such an illegal cartel structure has continued for a while, earning a significant amount of money. As a response to the petition from the public, the government started an investigation on companies that provided online cloud storage services spreading illegal pornography.
Public Demands and Government’s Actions Toward the Webhard Cartel
Many people have raised their voices for the necessity of a stricter investigation into the webhard cartel. Some women’s civic groups held a press interview about denouncing the webhard cartel on November 6th, arguing that the government had to investigate the legality of the distribution of pornography on the storage cloud service industries. In the meantime, on November 12th, the police found out that the company of Yang and heavy uploaders shared their profits. WeDisk helped the uploaders to make greater profits by grading them with several levels. Also, the police investigated 115 uploaders related to the webhard cartel, who were charged under the Act of Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection.