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South Korea volunteers wage all out war…on porn

In South Korea, a volunteer army is fighting what may be the most futile war imaginable. All they’re armed with is their computers and internet connections as they seek to eradicate pornography from the web.

Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter
Nur is an enigma with a passion for creating words. He recently entered a love affair with technology and chorizo sausages. He travels a lot -- you... More

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The so-called “Nuri Cops”, made up of around 800 people, spend hours at a time patrolling the internet for porn. They’re not deviants though. Pornography is illegal in South Korea — one of the most highly connected countries on the planet — and the Nuri spend their time helping government censors find illicit material.

As the Associated Press reports, the hope is that cutting down on porn in the country will lead to a reduction in sex crimes.

The news agency reports that more than 6 400 people were arrested for producing, selling and posting pornography online over a six month period ending in October. “Obscene materials and harmful information that can be easily accessed on the Internet are singled out as one cause inciting sex crimes,” President Lee Myung-bak said in a radio address in September.

One of the Nuri says it feels like he’s “cleaning up dirty things,” although he admits that it’s like “shoveling snow in a blizzard”.

According to Korean Institute of Criminology, sex crimes are up in the country, although it believes this is mostly down to the fact that people are more willing to report them. More than 18 000 people were arrested on rape charges in 2010, up from less than 7 000 in 2000. Sex crimes against minors, meanwhile, more than quintupled, from about 180 cases in 2000 to about 1 000 in 2010, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.