Feeds

NORKS powers down whole towns to find pirates

Smuggled vids help improve press freedom in hermit nation

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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”. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.