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Internet slander cases surged 23 percent in 2008 from the previous year to an all-time high of 515, according to a Justice Ministry survey of its investigations into human rights violations that was released Friday.

The posting of defamatory messages on the Net has been on the rise and also an increasing number of people have reported such cases to local justice bureaus, a ministry official said.

Invasion of privacy, including disclosing someone’s home address and phone number, was the biggest category, at 238 cases, followed by 176 cases of posting libelous messages, such as calling someone promiscuous.

In 75 cases, the Justice Ministry asked Internet providers to delete the messages in question. Such requests were rejected in 16 of the cases, the ministry said.

Human rights violations investigated by the ministry, including Net slander, totaled 21,412 in 2008, down 0.4 percent from the previous year, it said.

Of the total violations, school bullying plunged 11 percent to 1,923. Such cases doubled in the preceding year.

Physical abuse and violence increased 7 percent to 5,269. Women, children and the elderly accounted for about 80 percent of all victims.

Violations at nursing homes for the elderly, such as abuse and violence, came to a record 45 in 2008.

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