A state controlled operating system, a political machine that re-calibrated time, and the smuggling of Chinese cellphones to the daring few: digital media regulation doesn’t come tougher than this…
The BBC reports that North Korea, currently under the rule of Kim Jong-un, has made access to the Internet limited to an elite batch of citizens trusted with the tool.
The strict laws have led to regular North Korean citizens to employ other, innovative methods to access the web, such as attaching USB memory sticks to balloons and floating them across the border.
In addition, mobile phones are hidden in plastic bags, buried, and only used for two minutes or less to avoid detection in order for citizens to try and reach a world beyond their borders.
The official North Korean network does not allow international calls, and although it provides 3G connectivity, there is no Internet connection to speak of. However, that has not stopped some North Koreans from smuggling Chinese phones across the border.
The internet in North Korea is a version highly regulated and run by North Korea’s state-sponsored operating system Red Star.
There’s no Twitter or Facebook instead, a number of interesting quirks make sure North Koreans never forget their state responsibilities; including a piece of code on every page that automatically increases the font size of “Kim Jong-un” and former leaders to make them stand out.
There is only one cybercafe in the country’s capital, Pyongyang. If you login, the date is not displayed as 2012, but 101 — the number of years that has passed since the birth of former leader Kim Il-sung.
North Korea’s “Internet” mainly consists of message boards, state-sponsored media and chat, but of course, social networks are prohibited.
Read the full BBC report here