Businessman known for 'right to be forgotten' commits suicide

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2019-03-13 15:45 Updated : 2019-03-13 15:45
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A file picture shows Song Myung-bean known for the "right to be forgotten" from the internet. [Yonhap News Photo]

SEOUL -- A South Korean businessman who introduced the online concept of "the right to be forgotten" apparently committed suicide by jumping off his apartment. Prosecutors have sought his arrest on assault charges.

Song Myung-bean, 50, who headed Marker Group, was found dead Wednesday in a garden outside his apartment in Ilsan, the northwestern satellite city of Seoul. His last note was discovered at his home on the 12th floor, but police declined to disclose its content.

Song has been accused of beating a Marker Group employee repeatedly, sometimes with a steel pipe. He was to appear in a court hearing Wednesday to decide on his arrest sought by prosecutors.

Song's business was based on the so-called "digital aging system," which attaches an "aging timer" to digital data. If users set the expiration date of a posting or images through the system, unwanted data will disappear without a trace at the pre-set time.

Song introduced the online concept of remaining forgettable and untraceable in his 2015 book that played a role in introducing new digital guidelines that would make it easier for people to remove personal information from the Internet

In South Korea, one of the world's most-wired nations, digital undertakers help clients to remove internet posts, photos and video clips deemed inappropriate or distributed without their consent.