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31 MARCH 2015

Analysis of Human Flesh Search in the Taiwanese Context

"The advancement of internet technologies and the rapid rise of virtual communities have instigated internet human flesh search (HFS) or cyber manhunt in western countries [3] [4] that it has become a cyber phenomenon. HFS originated in China. The term was translated from 人肉搜尋 (Ren Rou Sou Suo [5]) which broadly refers to “an act of searching information about individuals or any subjects through the online collaboration of multiple users” [6].

Participation and collaboration by users play a vital role in the HFS process. On one hand, HFS practices, which are considered a manifestation of citizen empowerment and civil participation, are supported and applauded by other countries. On the other, majority of high-profile HFS cases in China have become aggressive and vicious, arousing research interest on the involved legal [3], privacy [7], and social issues [4].

Although Chen and Sharma [1] provide a comprehensive review of HFS that is supplemented by Chao [2], there is still a gap in research and in the analysis of HFS on a global context. The Taiwanese context is worthy of review because despite the abundance of HFS incidents occurring in the country, few studies on those have been shared to the international community."

(Yu-Hui Tao, Chian-Hsueng Chao, 2011)

Tao, Y.-H. and Chao, C.-S., Analysis of human flesh search in the Taiwanese context, in proceeding of the 2nd International Conference on Innovations in Bio-inspired Computing and Applications, December 16-18, Shenzhen, China, 2011



Simon Perkins

Human Flesh Search (HFS)

"This article studies an interesting Internet phenomenon known as Human Flesh Search which illustrates the far-reaching impacts of the Internet that is less documented. Due to its huge threat on individual privacy, human flesh search has introduced huge controversy and invited heated debate in China. This paper reviews its growth, explores the impetuses, identifies the distinctions from the alternative search engines, and summarizes the benefits and drawbacks. Furthermore, the paper develops a systematic review of the prior literature in human flesh search by surveying major sources such as academic journals, national and international conferences, and public and private databases. Finally, the paper identifies five research gaps in the literature and offers an initial interpretation and analysis of these remaining research issues. Human flesh search is still growing and the current study helps the computing field learn the past and present of this emerging phenomenon and properly manage its future development."

(Rui Chen and Sushil Sharma, 2011)

Rui Chen and Sushil Sharma (2011). Journal of Information Privacy and Security, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2011, pages 50-71.



20012011abuse • alternative search engines • breaching anonymity • breaching confidentiality • broadcasting personally identifiable information • committing an offense • controversycrowdsourcingcultural codescultural normscyber vigilantismcyberbullying • cyberposse • cyberpsychologydeath threats • denial-of-service attack • digilantism • distributed researching • DoS attack • doxing • doxxing • emerging phenomenon • etiquette • exposing corruption • exposing fraud • falsehoodgossipharassment • HFSE • Human Flesh Search (HFS) • human flesh search engine • identifying people • illegal access • individual privacy • information about specific individuals • information about specific organisations • information accuracy • information privacyinformation reliabilityinformation sharing • Internet phenomenon • Internet-based practice • massive human collaboration • monitoring • netizen • normsonline activismpanopticonpeople-powered searchPeoples Republic of Chinapublic humiliationpublic shamingpunishment • research gaps • research issues • revealing classified informationrevealing private informationRui Chensearch engines • social breach online • social controlsocial normssurveillanceSushil Sharmasystematic review • unofficial information • vigilante reactions • vigilantismviolation • vitrio


Simon Perkins

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