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North Korean Business Park Getting Internet Access

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the and-then-the-revolution dept.

Censorship 46

Daniel_Stuckey writes "A business park in North Korea will soon have (limited) access to the Internet, according to news reports. The Register wrote that an industrial park in the Kaesong Industrial Region will house Internet-connected PCs by the first half of this year. The Daily NK explained that the first step to connectivity will be an Internet cafe with 20 computers but afterward company offices will also be connected. They quoted a spokesperson from the Ministry of Unification — a department of the South Korean government that works on unifying the two Koreas — as saying, 'We are planning to launch the basic level of Internet services at the Kaesong Industrial Complex starting in the first half of this year,' and adding, 'Officials and employees in the North's border city will be able to use most of the online services now available in South Korea.'"

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As a distributed spokesman for the internet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46228977)

No thanks.

Re: As a distributed spokesman for the internet... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 months ago | (#46229021)

But north Korea is best Korea.

Re: As a distributed spokesman for the internet... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 months ago | (#46232097)

Yeah, it's the Peoples' Democratic (or is it the Democratic Peoples') Republic of Korea. South Korea is merely 'Republic of Korea', and therefore, a lot less about putting people first

But ... (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 months ago | (#46229031)

... Netflix will be throttled. They will be hiring Verizon to provide broadband.

Re:But ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229235)

And only Slashdot Beta will be available. Attempts to access the classic interface will get you sent for re-education.

Re:But ... (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#46229401)

At least that would be coherent with other behaviors of that country, like three generations life imprisonment in torture camps for arbitrary reasons.

Forcing their population to use Verizon broadband might be a bit over the top, though.

Re: But ... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#46231127)

Netflix will be blocked. The N. Korean regime is hellbent on stopping the cultural invasion from all forms of media.

No. Expect N. Korea to take the connection and firewall it off with a *white list*

I have dibs on the first SC and dota tea house! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229057)

I have dibs on the first SC and dota tea house!

Which North Korea? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229075)

Clarification needed.
Which North Korea's regime we are talking about. Original one or North Korea of United States.
One is in Asia, another on North American continent.

RE: Which North Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229249)

You need to clarify what you are trying to clarify.

Re: RE: Which North Korea? (2)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 2 months ago | (#46229413)

I think OP is trying to make a witty joke comparing the North Korean government to the US's. Unfortunately, it's not all that witty.

Re: RE: Which North Korea? (1)

lucm (889690) | about 2 months ago | (#46232733)

If you look carefully at Obama's birth certificate (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf) you will see that he comes from an area that is closer to Pyongyang than Washington DC. How that obvious North Korean spy got to be the leader of the free world is a mystery.

Worth Noting (2)

Akratist (1080775) | about 2 months ago | (#46229181)

For anyone who is complacent or unconvinced about the value of the internet in terms of providing a meaningful political dialogue, political education, or otherwise serving as a tool of the people to at least aid in political expression, look at the places where it is controlled and how politically repressive those places are. If nothing more, it should show that attempts to restrict or regulate it may indicate that those parties attempting to do the restriction or regulation may not have your best interests at heart.

Re:Worth Noting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229593)

In that vein, who would be stupid enough to have lived in North Korea and want to use the Internet. Anybody who peeks at the screen at the wrong time is taking a little trip to summer camp (in the winter).

internet access (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229215)

i always wondered if people in North Korea had internet access. do people in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea even have cell phones or 4G data networks?

Re: internet access (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46230077)

haha they do have limited access if they can get on a bordering chinese cellular network with their smuggled contraband phones but there are.. risks :-)

Restrictions will be in place (5, Informative)

smileytshirt (988345) | about 2 months ago | (#46229223)

Having been a bit of a North Korean watcher for a few years I don't think this will change much. There is already internet access available to certain groups of people in North Korea with restrictions applying to each group. Examples include:

Tourists who are allowed to bring in mobile phones, and for an exorbitant fee can have a North Korean SIM card with access to the wider internet - even less restricted than China's firewalled internet access

Certain students, academics and professionals may access the internet in a supervised format. Areas of research and specific websites must be submitted to a human monitor who must approve the sites and who remains in the computer room to ensure users only access what has been approved

And of course the higher level officials are assumed to have internet access

Other than that, the general population only has access to the North Korean intranet - which among other things has government sites, game sites and even a dating website. Any new access to the wider internet is surely going to come with very strict controls and monitoring.

and they have hackers, too (1)

Moskit (32486) | about 2 months ago | (#46229575)

Thanks for putting that information in concise way.

One more group that has to be added is government/army services involved in electronic warfare:
http://www.theguardian.com/tec... [theguardian.com]

Re:and they have hackers, too (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#46230259)

The North Korean military hacking unit is in China. They're quite sophisticated, actually, but use Chinese internet infrastructure, not North Korea's.

Re:Restrictions will be in place (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 months ago | (#46229673)

Certain students, academics and professionals may access the internet in a supervised format. Areas of research and specific websites must be submitted to a human monitor who must approve the sites and who remains in the computer room to ensure users only access what has been approved

That really puts the people who complain about the UK being a nanny state into contrast doesn't it? Just imagine what could be done if all of that manpower could be used towards doing useful work instead.

Re:Restrictions will be in place (1)

operagost (62405) | about 2 months ago | (#46229777)

The UK is still a nanny state. NK is just the Louise Woodward of nannies.

Re:Restrictions will be in place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46230151)

Actually, I would say that the UK is the Louise Woodward of nannies. Their intentions may not be malicious, but their execution is clumsy and dangerous. North Korea is more like the Ariel Castro of nannies.

Re:Restrictions will be in place (1)

lucm (889690) | about 2 months ago | (#46232853)

Just imagine what could be done if all of that manpower could be used towards doing useful work instead.

Just imagine what could be done if all the manpower in Silicon Valley could be used towards doing useful work instead of creating clones of flappy birds and iPhone fans (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18RuLED2nQM).

Re:Restrictions will be in place (2)

ACS Solver (1068112) | about 2 months ago | (#46229703)

This is likely correct (I have likewise been somewhat of a NK watcher), but one important point. The general population doesn't have access to the NK intranet. Those that do aren't quite the country's elite, but still represent the better-off social class. Most access to the intranet happens through universities and major organizations, while close to half of NK's population lives outside cities, and in cities other than Pyongyang the infrastructure is nearly non-existent. Sariwon and Wonsan can be barely made out as lights in nighttime photos.

Just 1 Anonymous Coward (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229279)

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More StarCraft players (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229285)

No hope for 'muricans.

There goes the productivity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229295)

Another plot of evil capitalists to destroy the North Korean economy!

So... (1)

arctus (2753027) | about 2 months ago | (#46229305)

What do you do at the office if you can't procrastinate for 8 hours using partially open internet access?

Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229373)

F*** beta with a kimchee enema

AN internet, not The Connected Internet (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 2 months ago | (#46229503)

Glorious Leader permitting all searches including the terms "best" "Korea" "Glorious Leader" and "harmony." any other keyword, or connection to other sites, stunning "ocsic" router of Pyongyang Research and Cloning Institute will reject.

Of course there's a catch. (2)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 months ago | (#46229543)

All of your TCP packets need to be written down on a 3x5 card and hand delivered to the nearest government office for manual processing before being typed in and sent to uunet via dprkvax. This will lead to a tiny slowdown in network access, but nothing that you should notice.

Re:Of course there's a catch. (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 months ago | (#46229657)

How is this any different than programming in FORTRAN? At least that's how I learned FORTRAN; has anything changed?

Now would you kindly please step aside so I can water that last patch of the lawn?

This higlights the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46229845)

As soon even freaking North Korean will have better and more widely available broadband access than the the US.

South Korean is wiring them, there is no way it'll be some slack-ass no competition monopoly running things that refuses to invest in upgrading their aging network just to squeeze profits higher this quarter for the shareholders.

Admittedly it'll be spied on more than your neighbor's mom with an open window and clear shower curtain taking her daily afternoon shower when the highschool kids are getting off the bus, but it'll still be faster, more reliable, and widespread than similar services in the US.

North Korean business park (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 months ago | (#46230031)

What do they make, oxymorons?

Re:North Korean business park (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 months ago | (#46232937)

It's a joint venture by South Korean businesses building factories in North Korea to use North Korean labor. Funding for its construction was from South Korea, most of the managers are South Korean, most of the workers are North Korean. It provides the few North Korean managers with experience in running an entrepreneurial business, as well as provides the workers some badly needed income. It hasn't gone all that smoothly - the North has unilaterally shut it down on several occasions for random reasons, and tried to use its continued operation as negotiating leverage for concessions from the South.

Unlike the rest of the world, South Korea does not have the luxury of writing off North Korea. Inevitably at some point in the future, the two will have to reintegrate into a single Korea. And the South would much prefer it be with a modernized North Korea, much like the advanced state of the East German economy made German reunification go a lot more smoothly. So despite the drawbacks and the North's odd behavior, the South still supports it.

How fascinating (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 2 months ago | (#46230993)

They quoted a spokesperson from the Ministry of Unification — a department of the South Korean government that works on unifying the two Koreas

First amazing that they even have this. Doesn't seem like they are really getting anywhere. What do they do from day to day? Call up NK and ask?

I thought they kicked everyone out of Kaesong? (1)

kimgkimg (957949) | about 2 months ago | (#46231497)

Didn't they yank all the workers out of the business park a while back? I thought SK business were abandoning their ventures there?

Still prohibited from importing computers.. (1)

vinn (4370) | about 2 months ago | (#46231831)

Keep in mind, US sanctions against North Korea mean key technologies make it difficult to import computers. Although these days there's so many ways to get mobile devices that might be a moot point.

Last year we were in South Korea and we went on one of the popular "DMZ Tours". So, on the tour you go to Dorason Station, which is the jumping off point from South Korea onto the rail line into North Korea, and then after that you go up a hill and look into North Korea. From that overlook, you can see Kaesong, which I think is about 7 miles over the border or so.

My guess is that this is going to be a simple and highly restricted system. A lot of management is from South Korea, so they'll give them access. From there, the simplest way would be a straight wireless shot to South Korea, but maybe N. Korea can make a play to get their paws on the traffic.

Interesting factoid, North Korea's official GDP (not counting it's counterfeit currency, drug and arms trade) is about $12 billion. Of that, $2 billion comes from trade generated by Kaesong. So when North Korea cut off access to Kaesong, it effectively made the decision to shut down 17% of its economy overnight.

You can tell that it is bad up there.... (1)

CTU (1844100) | about 2 months ago | (#46234897)

when any story about getting basic Internet service is a big enough issue to get to /..

Yeah so really I am surprised there is any Internet service in NK

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