I think North Korea installed its Internet backwards

For weeks and weeks I have been tirelessly searching for a research focus (previous statement may or may not be true). When I first thought about the words ‘Digital Asia’ I was expecting to tap into some kind of inner well… full of innovative and fresh ideas on the tech-happenings of the futuristic and far off ‘Orient’ (I understand I am using this term very generally/sarcastically). However the more I tried to link the ‘Digital’ with ‘Asia’ the more lost and confused I became. T’was then I realised; maybe I should just take the ‘Digital’ out of ‘Asia’ instead. Presto. That narrows it down. So here we are, the North Korean Internet… what’s the go with that? AR-140209606

internetblackhole

 Well, it seems North Korea has found a controlled and authoritarian answer to that ‘freewheeling’ Internet of ours. It’s called ‘Kwangmyong’, or ‘Bright’ and its users can now chat and email as they please (be careful what you say though because it is all monitored). When I think of ‘censorship’ I think of things that cannot be seen online, what has been taken away, or is missing. In North Korea’s case the censorship is reflected in what you can see. The Central Scientific and Technological Information Agency (CSTIA) have developed this ‘North Korea only’ network, not to keep its population informed, but rather to broadcast the official ideology and strengthen the technical skills of those who work for the ‘fatherland’. So, as of this week I will begin researching the censorship placed over North Koreas digital 130621-opnorthkoreatechnologies (Anonymous recently claimed it hacked into the Bright network), what this means for its users, and how these heavy regulations are patrolled as well as where North Korea is headed technologically. But for now, don’t you want to hear about the North-Korean Internets biggest star?

I am sure you can guess, and I am not even trying to be funny here, its Kim Jong-un (+ his Kim Jong predecessors a.k.a papa and grandpapa). But seriously, North Korea is probably one of the hardest places to tweet from. I mean a list of their A-listers includes diplomats, ambassadors, anyone who has won an Olympic medal representing North Korea, religious leaders and military leaders.

 tumblr_n4ep1lX2p61r8asibo1_500So, all that really leaves me with is this tumblr page of Kim Jong-un looking at things.

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2 comments

  1. I did a quick google search of Bright after I read your post. It is really interesting to see the North Korean government’s take on the net. The Washington Post outlined that is that it is for the most wealthy and like you mention, it is limited and heavily monitored. Here’s the link if you’d like to take a look http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/3/report-sheds-light-bright-north-koreas-internet/.
    I think this would be a really interesting case study, because its as if North Korea is following in the footsteps of China, but with such a limited population using the Internet, its the equivalent of our high schools intranets.

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  2. Great post! I too had a lot of trouble trying to figure out what sort of thing to do for the assignment so I’m glad you’ve found a topic.
    I like how you’ve pointed out that the way North Korea has gone about allowing access to the Internet. It’s certainly an interesting way to look at it and actually reminds me of our Internet in high school, where you couldn’t see most pages unless a teacher requested for it to be unblocked.
    I think looking at the laws more closely should be quite interesting, and perhaps at the governments official reasons for the censorship, or how they validate it all (whether or not they do, more likely to outsiders), or if they simply deny the censorship.
    Anyway, I think there are plenty of avenues where you can continue your research, so good luck! Oh, and thank you for sharing the Tumblr blog. It (sadly) made my night.

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