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“Dog Excrement Girl” Story Debated in U.S.

Posted July. 09, 2005 03:06,   


The “Dog excrement girl” incident that fueled netizens on the Internet last month in Korea has now become food for thought among American bloggers.

The Washington Post reported on the subject on July 7, saying that the case was “a remarkable show of Internet force and a peek into an unsettling corner of the future.”

Jonathan Krim, who wrote the article, said, “In discussions with dozens of people about this story and in reading comments on several blogs, I found an intriguing common thread.” “Most people accept the Internet as a new social enforcement tool, but agreed to search for a certain level where enforcement does not go too far.”

“The case involves a norm that most people agree to clean up after their dogs,” said Daniel J. Solove, a George Washington University law professor. “However, having a permanent record of one’s norm violations is upping the concept of sanction to a whole new level, allowing bloggers to act as a cyber-posse, tracking down norm violators and branding them with digital scarlet letters,” continued the professor.

Howard Rheingold, an expert on group behavior, said, “Unlike in the past when the state was a ‘Big Brother,’ in modern world, where 1.5 billion people are connected online, the dog excrement girl case taught us that our neighbors or fellow subway riders are big brothers.”

Internet surfers posted their own responses to the article on Washingtonpost.com. Some argued that a relevant law should be in place to prevent “Internet lynching” while others expressed concerns over government surveillance of the Internet.

Mi-Kyung Jung mickey@donga.com