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The Internet Censorship Technology

The Information Age: North Korean Style 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the disinformation-superhighway dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It seems cell phones and the internet have come to the reclusive nation of North Korea — albeit in a manner that you might not expect. North Korea now sports over a million cell phones, although calls are not allowed outside of the country and text messages come daily from North Korean authorities sporting government propaganda. The internet is not the global internet of Twitter and Facebook, but a government-crafted intranet that is restricted to just a tiny percentage of the population. The intranet is restricted to elites in North Korea with good standing. The intranet uses message boards, chat functions, and state sponsored messages; its use has also been encouraged among universities, technical professionals and scientists, and others to exchange info. An even smaller fraction can access the outside internet. All of this seems to be an effort to control the information revolution without losing authority."
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The Information Age: North Korean Style

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:36AM (#41931509) Journal

    All of this seems to be an effort to control the information revolution without losing authority.

    Let's just stop and think for a minute about that sentence.

    A controlled revolution isn't really a revolution (unless you buy the propaganda of those controlling it). Furthermore the only "revolutions" I can think of that were actually controlled or orchestrated are coups d'état [wikipedia.org] which is a special kind of revolution. Unlike ousting a former government and installing just a new regime, the information revolution [wikipedia.org] is about fundamentally altering our class system from the bottom up. It is directly applied to the masses and by definition is difficult to control (look at China have fun with that). The reason I balk at the idea that anyone could control this is that you can't even show evidence of the information revolution except by way of anecdotes (just examples) and socioeconomic trends in a vast populace (better). How do you control that which is hard to detect?

    So I don't think you can control the information revolution (hence the reason it's called a revolution, it's happening whether those in control want it to or not). You can either let it happen or you fight it. And I feel like North Korea is doing simply the latter. Of course, the sentence from the summary bemuses me beyond most things I read ... but then again I guess that's also the case with anything I find on North Korea.

  • Expect unification (Score:1, Interesting)

    by udachny (2454394) on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:40AM (#41931549) Journal

    I think in the next 5 years time we'll be observing unification of North and South Korea, all signs are pointing in that direction. The North can provide plenty of unskilled cheap labor and the South will provide the capital, tools and management. AFAIC that's the best way to resolve that conflict, of-course there will be a problem of many high government officials accepting the terms, but I am sure they can be offered cushy enough sinecure positions of power until they retire. Somalia solved their communist problem with a bloody civil war. USSR fell apart and parts of it are reconstructed under authoritarian regime. Eastern Germany became a stone on the welfare system of the Western counterpart. Let's see if Koreans find a better way to deal with the unification process (hopefully they allow for a market solution to it rather than a central planning one).

  • by Muad'Dave (255648) on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:55AM (#41931695) Homepage

    Could this be an opportunity for South Korea (or any other western government) to send their own daily propaganda text messages to phones in NK? All it would take is a fake cell site just over the border, on a (very high) flying aircraft/drone, or on a ship outside territorial waters. Having radio-based technology in the hands of the masses in NK can work for _and_ against the current government.

  • by durrr (1316311) on Friday November 09, 2012 @11:10AM (#41931845)

    With the ever present wireless tech availible, and a relatively small country like NK next to super-teched SK, it's only a matter of time before enough information spills over to either forcibly induce change or through cooperation with the leadership.

    SK should put a series of 200 meter high towers with ultra strength directional-antenna open wifi beacons along the DMZ. I mean, why?, the SK soldiers along the DMZ should be able to watch starcraft streams on their phones of course! What?, dirty NK pirates stealing their bandwidth! atrocious, lets put a password("1234") to prevent those dirty thieves from stealing their positively overspecced bandwidth.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday November 09, 2012 @11:31AM (#41932121) Journal

    With the ever present wireless tech availible, and a relatively small country like NK next to super-teched SK, it's only a matter of time before enough information spills over to either forcibly induce change or through cooperation with the leadership.

    That might work for broadcast media; but it'd be a nervy(or foolish) North Korean who operates an unauthorized radio transmitter that would allow for any sort of bidirectional networking... Some radio receivers are noisy enough to detect(see the BBC's old-school TV detector vans); but any transmitter running at useful power, unless using some sort of extremely tight directional antenna, is just asking for a knock on the door...

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