Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Wireless Networking Technology

North Korea To Enable Mobile Internet Access — For Visitors Only 114

Posted by Soulskill
from the visitors-get-free-nukes-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that the reclusive country of North Korea is planning to enable 3G mobile internet access. It will not be available to the country's estimated one million mobile users, however. The service will be available only to international visitors, who have been allowed to bring their own mobile devices into the country since January of this year. The decision comes shortly after Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said enabling 3G internet in the country would be 'very easy' during his recent visit there. Currently, North Korean citizens can only access a small number of state-controlled sites. Might this decision open the door for some of them to surreptitiously access the open net?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

North Korea To Enable Mobile Internet Access — For Visitors Only

Comments Filter:
  • Spying... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:09PM (#42981853)

    Almost certainly just to troll for information... Like taking a laptop to China...

    • Surely using something like Tor or a VPN would prevent Kim Jong-Un from spying on you though?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        With his family history of looking at things? Not bloody likely.
        • Okay he might try but if your communications are encrypted then he'll need to try pretty hard to understand them... so I would think that would give you some measure of privacy at least.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            I believe we'll have to agree to disagree. [tumblr.com]
          • by Anonymous Coward

            It would give privacy, until the police squad investigating the encrypted traffic breaks down your door and puts a black bag over your head.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              NK's government don't gives two shits for what non-koreans think. They'll probably try to monitor what passes through their wires, like your own government does as well, but they do not actively try to fuck with tourists (and the tourists, as well, do not try to fuck with them because you just don't fuck with someone who can send you to a work camp). And they have a very good reason for not screwing the tourists: they need the dollars tourists bring every year.

      • Re:Spying... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:28PM (#42982083)

        Surely using something like Tor or a VPN would prevent...

        Not if they block these things. And using encryption might just get your phone/tablet/whatever removed from your custody...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I wouldn't be surprised if the use of Tor or a VPN would be assumed to be proof of spying for the CIA.

        • Re:Spying... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:01PM (#42983395)

          I would. When was the last time N Korea arrested visitors saying they were CIA spies? On the contrary, N Korea is very welcoming to foreigners, including Americans. It seems they want to impress them, not arrest them. This 3G internet for visitors seems another step in the same direction.

          It's their own people they persecute. And the South Koreans, who they consider to be traitors to a unified Korea.

          • by cdrudge (68377)

            When was the last time N Korea arrested visitors saying they were CIA spies?

            Never. Dear Leader merely invited them to say for an extended period by their own choice. Those that declined the invitation were shot. At no point where they under arrest.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Political ideologies aside - this is just very ignorant!

              You are probably more likely to be arrested in South Korea as a CIA spy unless of course you undertake illegal activities in North Korea !

              • Except that NK is a country where 'illegal' means 'whatever we happen to feel like punishing people for today'...

                • Terrorism has a wide and subjective definition whether you are in NK or the USA.

                  Did you know that North Korea has a number of pilotless aircraft constantly circling various foreign countries. And from time to time these aircrafts assassinate both NK nationals and foreigners who are deemed to be against North Korea. No trial. No worries about who else might be in the building they destroy. Women and children as well as men.

                  Oh no, sorry - thats the USA.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Are you suggesting that NK doesn't detain foreign journalists, movie starts, doesn't send massive military to countriers across the globe to devastate tiny countries, doesn't have millions of street cameras, hasn't occupied half the globe and decimated locals? Oh, wait, I thought the topic was about NK, wait, that should be UK, right?

          • When was the last time N Korea arrested visitors saying they were CIA spies? On the contrary, N Korea is very welcoming to foreigners, including Americans.

            Charges as CIA spies? How bourgeois. It is much simpler and a better reflection of North Korean socialist morality to just hold a trial.

            2 U.S. reporters get 12 years in N. Korea [latimes.com] - June 08, 2009

            Two American television journalists today were convicted of a "grave crime" against North Korea and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor, a move that increased mounting tensions between the U.S. and the reclusive Asian state.

            Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for San Francisco-based Current TV, were sentenced by the top Central Court in Pyongyang in a two-day trial that started Friday as U.S. officials demanded the release of the two women.

            The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported that the court "sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor" but gave no further details.

            Because the pair were tried by the nation's highest court, there can be no appeal.

            Of course the North Koreans are not especially shy about grabbing Americans.

            North Korea says it has arrested American citizen [cnn.com] - Sun December 23, 2012
            North Korea arrests American; continues shelling near disputed border [csmonitor.com] - January 28, 2010
            North Korea arrests US man [tvnz.co.nz] - December 29, 2009

            And foreigners? The North Korean

            • Come now, a handful of examples, some dating back to 1978. The US has kidnapped hundreds of people from other countries in the last 12 years and are keeping them hostages without trial, and at some points in time used torture on them.

              And several of the examples you state are of individuals that have illegally crossed the border into N Korea. The US also arrests people that illegally cross their borders. And whilst many are sent straight back, thousands are in long term detention.

              So if you can say that the

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Sure it would...and it would also probably get you a couple years in the gulag as a "spy for the CIA" for your trouble.

        Frankly anybody that goes to that country deserves what they get, sorry but they do. Its no different than the USSR under Stalin's cult of personality and your "rights" are there only at the whim of the regime.

      • by jhol13 (1087781)

        Who cares. CIA #1 or #2 priority is spying for USA companies - I ain't american. China has it maybe #3. Russia, I wouldnt' know but probably top ten. Which one should I fear more?.
        Oh, about North Korea ... hahahaha, you've got to be kidding!

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      The only one that hassles you taking a laptop to China is ICE when you return to the US.
    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Yep, no chance whatsoever that they're going to log and try to decrypt everything on that network. Kim Jong is way too sexy to do something like that. What's interesting is I hear no mention of filtering or a firewall associated with the technology.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:10PM (#42981865)

    Might this decision open the door for some of them to surreptitiously access the open net?

    Hahahahahaha! Yeah. Sure. Good plan if those foreigners want to get an up close and personal tour of the labor camps.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Open internet

      Who said open internet in NK? TFS talks about super-titious ... err.. let me copy/paste... surreptitious (here you go) access, does that sound as open bare to you?

    • I would bet they don't even know how to turn on a computer.

  • wait (Score:3, Funny)

    by nej4ugi (2759471) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:11PM (#42981881)
    Somebody goes there by their own will?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:12PM (#42981895)

    It's possible that we're witnessing a gradual sea-change in NK's politics.

    Kim Jong-un was pretty much obliged to make a show of strength upon taking office - launching "satellites" and testing "nukes". This ensures that he doesn't get overthrown by his own people, or "liberated" by you-know-who.

    Kim Junior has experienced the outside world, and he may well believe that it is in everybody's best interests, even his, to gradually open it up to his people. Time will tell.

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Friday February 22, 2013 @03:11PM (#42982663)
      For all we know, Junior wants to open up NK completely, but he expects to catch a bullet in the brain from the military generals if he does all he wants to do. So he's doing what he can when he can. And he'll either liberate NK, or die trying.

      Or maybe he really thinks that NK could be a resort for the world, and is as loony as Dad.
    • by ZeroPly (881915)
      Yes, and my immediate reaction to this is: why the fuck are two guys from Google getting more done than our State department, when our State department has a budget of almost $30 billion a year?
      • by roc97007 (608802)

        I think the general answer is that budget != performance, especially where governments are concerned.

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        Because Google has expense budgets of $37b a year (2012 unaudited)?

      • by schnell (163007)

        why the fuck are two guys from Google getting more done than our State department

        Because the State Department's negotiations with North Korea are focused on trivial things like providing food and humanitarian aid in exchange for NK shutting down its nuclear weapons program. How foolish of them not to focus on cellphone Internet access for tourists.

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Best thing he can do - if he has any sense - is offer to start unification talks w/ South Korea
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Voldemort seems pretty busy running Florida,lately. I don't think he's interested in taking over North Korea.
  • I'm not hopeful (Score:2, Redundant)

    by interkin3tic (1469267)

    Might this decision open the door for some of them to surreptitiously access the open net?

    Seems like having a device which gives away your location to a brutally repressive regime, and using said device to access things that would get you and your extended family thrown into starvation camps might not be a good idea.

    On the other hand, I have no idea what I'd do if I were a North Korean. Maybe look up the best way to make suicide look like an accident so your surviving relatives don't get thrown into those starvation camps for the crime of being related to someone who dishonored the country

  • by Linsaran (728833) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:18PM (#42981963) Homepage

    I mean, even the great firewall of china allows users to access data outside of china (albiet with state filtering and what not).

    I don't know if this is a good thing or not that they haven't got better access considering their penchant for building nukes and what not, but with better access to information outside their own borders they probably would have had a working missile system 5-6 years sooner. If not from simply having access to that kind of information from the internet, then the benefits of better education for the potential scientists in the country.

    • by masternerdguy (2468142) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:31PM (#42982111)
      North Korea is an inexcusable mess of a country that wouldn't even exist today without China's external backing. China actually disagrees with North Korea's policies, but the *idea* of communism (even though NK's implementation is the worst on Earth) still holds a lot of patriotic sway in China (being the only successful communist country). I personally can't wait for NK to actually do something stupid so China drops their support (do you really think China wants to be involved in some kind of war because the "ally" they babysit is misbehaving, hell no!) and that little country collapses in on itself.
      • I was under the impression that china supports NK to avoid a flood of ~24 million refugees trying to evacuate if the regime were to crumble....which it would, almost instantly, without china's backing.
      • by dj245 (732906)

        North Korea is an inexcusable mess of a country that wouldn't even exist today without China's external backing. China actually disagrees with North Korea's policies, but the *idea* of communism (even though NK's implementation is the worst on Earth) still holds a lot of patriotic sway in China (being the only successful communist country). I personally can't wait for NK to actually do something stupid so China drops their support (do you really think China wants to be involved in some kind of war because the "ally" they babysit is misbehaving, hell no!) and that little country collapses in on itself.

        I can't figure out if you mean North Korea is a successful communist country, or you mean that China is. Either point is wrong. China is not a communist country, and North Korea is not successful by any measure.

        It could be that China sees North Korea's totalitarianism as echoing the totalitarianism of Mao, who is somehow seen as being a positive influence on the country by some older people in China. On this basis, the more totalitarian and crazy the North Korean government gets, the more some people

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:22PM (#42982007) Homepage

    Yeah, I'd want to use internet on a device in a country where His Supreme Leader of Batshit Fucking Crazy reigns. That would be secure and trustworthy.

    Then again, except for this publicity stunt (?) from Schmidt, I have no idea why most people would have any interest in going to North Korea.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, you could instead use the internet in the US, where it won't (really, seriously, it won't) get trawled and data-mined by far more efficient spy agencies.

      Or... just use a VPN or something and stop splerging.

    • Then again, except for this publicity stunt (?) from Schmidt, I have no idea why most people would have any interest in going to North Korea.

      Personally I'd travel to North Korea before I ever travelled to the US again. Batshit Crazy comes in many forms !

      Try flying into any major US city as a foreigner (even as a white westerner) and you might be ready to re-board the plane before even getting out of the airport.

      LAX holds a special place in my heart as being about as welcoming as any third-world dictatorship !

  • ...it is time for North Koreans to learn how to spoof their IMEI
  • Typically communist countries are enthralled in the idea of advancing technology almost to the point of obsession, but unless you count failing to implement 50 year old missile technology North Korea doesn't exactly make strides here (although they'll claim to have put men on the moon before the USA and have broken warp 5 barrier if you asked them, no doubt). North Korea is just a sad little excuse of a country. God forbid that they might have access to modern technology and be able to communicate with each
    • They already know how broken their country is. They just can't openly talk about it or the broken people will stomp on them.
  • Boy, this is sure good news for visitors to North Korea. They should all be sure to take their private personal communication devices to North Korea. I'm sure that nothing will go wrong and the benevolent rulers of North Korea will respect the privacy of any data on the devices and the users communications and Internet access.
    • I saw a video on YT about some people who were visiting NK, it was a video about the Traffic girls that direct traffic. It seemed as if the visitors were very ignorant about NK, speaking about how great it was and a few comments about living there.

      It totally went against the bad rap that NK gets. It was either propaganda, extremely ignorant Canadians, or everything we have heard about NK is false. You could probably find it on YT if you go look, so you can grasp what I write of.

      • Nah - its all easy to reconcile

        NK does not screw with foreigner because they need the cash, and in fact is becoming more accommodating for that very reason. You are not going to get locked up for saying the wrong thing and would need to provoke a response but deliberating seeking out things that to embarrass them as a number of aid workers have.

        And in all likelihood you are not going to be spied upon 24/7 and have your electronics copied/monitored because most tourists are just not that interesting !!!

        But f

  • There isn't a lot of detail mentioned in the article about exactly what will be done to prevent the locals from using all of their smuggled cell phones to access the open internet.

    In the past the DPRK has made decisions that "give in without actually giving in". They didn't originally allow non state-owned businesses but they tolerated people selling in their own markets for example. This seems similar to me. There is a high amount of smuggled cell phones from China, but very few people have the off
    • For the ~communist~ (read totalitarian hellhole) rulers in that country it will be easy. They own the network and can monitor all traffic with ease and locating rogue connections would be trivially easy. Combine that with Chinese style filtering on steroids and you can keep denying your people basic human rights for the forseeable future.
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:36PM (#42982169)

    what will the roaming fees be like?

  • I wonder how they differentiate between the 'local' and 'visitor' cell phones. Hit F3 in the spreadsheet and search for your MEID? If it's not there, they register it and you get tagged as a visitor?

  • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:40PM (#42982221) Journal

    Last I heard, Kim Jong Un turned off the internet for the entire country. [twitter.com] How can this be?

  • by puddingebola (2036796) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:46PM (#42983967) Journal
    Greetings undercover CIA personnel, welcome to glorious leader's free wi-fi access. Please feel free to communicate with your contacts and login to accounts and databases in United States and Japan. All communications 100% encrypted by glorious leader himself, ensuring the utmost confidentiality in communications. Also, please friend and like us on Facebook.
  • Someone needs to set this website up for visitors with a mission.

Contemptuous lights flashed flashed across the computer's console. -- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Working...