Feeds

NORKS powers down whole towns to find pirates

Smuggled vids help improve press freedom in hermit nation

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Reclusive totalitarian state and US-hater North Korea has taken a very small step towards greater press freedom, although not through any humanitarian efforts of the Kim Jong-un regime.

NORKS remains in last place in the latest annual rankings drawn up by Washington-based NGO Freedom House with a miserly score of just 96, tied with Turkmenistan.

It was given one point more than last year, not because of a slowly thawing approach to press regulation by Pyongyang but “as a result of increased attempts to circumvent stringent censorship and the use of technologies such as smuggled DVDs to spread news and information”.

DVDs and USBs loaded with South Korean TV shows and films are usually brought in across the northern border with China, although the authorities are getting wise to the increase in smuggling.

One trick is to cut off the power supply to an area – assuming it was on in the first place – and go house to house to check if any of the DVD players have contraband discs stuck in them, according to the North Korea Tech blog.

As a result, USBs have become more favoured for smuggling in foreign content, although the authorities have apparently reacted by disabling the USB ports on DVD players imported from China.

There were hopes when the 30-year-old Kim Jong-un came to power that he may herald a more relaxed approach to online freedoms and for a while it seemed that way after Google’s Eric Schmidt paid a visit there and then foreigners and tourists were allowed 3G data connectivity.

However, 3G access has now been switched off and the anti-US/Japan/South Korea rhetoric from Pyongyang has grown ever louder over recent weeks.

For the record, Freedom House didn’t exactly give a glowing account of the rest of the world either, claiming in its report that "the percentage of people worldwide who enjoy a free media environment fell to its lowest point in more than a decade”. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.