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KOREA NORTH

  • "N.Korea allows limited Internet cell phone service" by Kwang-Tae Kim, Associated Press (via Seattle PI), 22 May 2009: "...The service allows North Koreans to access a Web site through their phones to see news reports carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency as well as news about the capital Pyongyang, according to the government-run Uriminzokkiri Web site... Uriminzokkiri did not give any further details in its report Thursday on whether the service is restricted to the capital Pyongyang or available elsewhere..."
  • "North Korea nurtures IT to push economic growth," by Martyn Williams, InfoWorld, 17 May 2002: "Kwangmyong [is] a nationwide intranet the government has established that links major universities, ministries and similar establishments. Through this network, limited e-mail is available to some users, although the network is not believed to be interconnected to the Internet and normal library visitors do not get e-mail access..."
  • "North Korea's IT revolution," by Bertil Lintner, Asia Times, 24 April 2007.
  • "Big Brother's Little Friend," by Hyejin Kim, NewsBlaze, 21 February 2006: "The South Korean government plans to issue RFID-equipped cards to travellers to the North, Yonhap News reported on Feb. 14. The new cards were tested on 30 people who crossed the border last December. The system is expected to reduce paperwork related to movement across the border and cut time for clearing customs. RFID cards will also be used to keep track of strategic equipment taken to North Korea. With the expansion of South Korean facilities in the North's Kaesong Industrial Complex, the system will relieve concerns about technology being diverted for military purposes. Travel and trade between South and North Korea are growing, and Seoul hopes to have the RFID system online within months."
  • "North Korean e-mail service launched" by Martyn Williams, ComputerWorld, 2 December 2003: "A new [dial-up] email service linking North Korea with the rest of the world has begun, according to an official news report. The service is being offered by the International Communications Centre of North Korea... The first email service to link North Korea with the rest of the world was launched by a Chinese company, Silibank, in 2001..."
  • "German company filters web for N Korea," Agence France Presse (via GIPI), 29 December 2003.
  • "Starved of Rights: Human Rights and the Food Crisis in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)," Amnesty International, 17 January 2004: "Access to radio, television and other media is strictly controlled... According to Lee, 'To have a TV and radio, one had to register it with the authorities. The authorities came and checked if one had the right channel. The guards kept an eye out for those who owned radios or TVs or if they listened to outside broadcasts...' According to Yoo, access to information was strictly enforced in Pyongyang as well. 'If one wanted to own a radio, then s/he had to register with the SSA. The radio sets were already tuned to North Korean stations. My father, who had a radio, was reported to authorities for occasionally tuning into and listening to South Korean and Chinese broadcasts...' "
  • "North Korea restricts cellphone usage" - Cellular News, 4 June 2004.
  • "Possession of a mobile is a capital crime," Telegeography, 15 June 2007: "The Korea Institute for National Unification, a South Korean government think tank, has claimed that the number of people publicly executed in North Korea for owning a mobile phone is on the rise, without giving numbers. Cellphones have been banned since June 2004 following an alleged assassination attempt on the ruling dictator Kim Jong-Il, in which an explosion on a train was thought to have been detonated by a mobile phone. Prior to this there was a GSM network in the capital Pyongyang built by Loxpac (Loxley-Pacific, a Thai-Finnish-Taiwanese joint venture) and operated by subsidiary Northeast Asia Telephone and Telecoms (NEAT&T) under the banner SUN NET. This was shut down following the train explosion, which occurred only a month after mobile phones had been made legal. While today no network is available to the general public, many phones are smuggled across the border from China, where the Chinese phone networks are reported to have an unusually strong signal strength which reaches deep inside the North Korean border zone."
  • "North Korea opens pilot web portal, glitches remain," Reuters, 15 July 2004.
  • "North Korea: Chinese cellphones spawn an information boom," by Rebecca MacKinnon, International Herald Tribune, 24 January 2005: "North Korea's long isolation could break down substantially this year, thanks to a volatile combination: aggressive market expansion by Chinese telecom companies, dramatic growth of Chinese border trade and North Korean experiments in economic reforms. As communications technology - led primarily by the spread of cellphones - seeps deeper into their country, North Koreans are beginning to communicate to an unprecedented degree with the outside world... In 2003, Chinese cellphone companies began building relay stations along the North Korean border, and Chinese cellphones - and the prepaid phone cards needed to use them - are now said to be a hot black market item in North Korea. As many as 20,000 North Koreans are believed to have access to cellphones, which they use to conduct business with Chinese traders... The next step could be the spread of text messaging - a communication method that helped bring down a government in the Philippines, elect a president in South Korea, and spread information about SARS in China... Few North Koreans have access to the Internet, but the spread of Chinese cellphone network coverage could change the picture quickly. This is especially likely considering that Web-enabled phones will likely become as common in northern China as they now are in South Korea, where many young people use mobile phones - not computers - as their primary means of accessing the Internet. These devices and their networks will then spread from Northern China over the border into North Korea..."
  • "How Electronics Are Penetrating North Korea's Isolation" by James Brooke, The New York Times, 15 March 2005.
  • "Joint North-South Korean Handsets in the Works," Digital Chosunilbo, 28 September 2005: "South Korean mobile phone maker VK Corp. said Wednesday it agreed with North Korea's Samcholli Technical Co. to jointly develop mobile phones and software..."
  • "UN curbs could cut North Korean telecom links," by Martyn Williams, IDG News Service, 13 October 2006: "An agreement by the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on North Korea could see the Asian nation's few telecommunications links with the outside world cut. Security Council members are debating what action to take after North Korea claimed it tested a nuclear device on Monday morning... The country is already one of the most isolated in the world when it comes to communications and media and any sanctions would make it even more remote... There is no reliable information on Internet access in the country, but it's likely that if it does exist it is limited to the very top levels of government..."

Asia & Pacific - Regional Overview