North Korea has banned the use of satellite Internet connections and WiFi networks by foreign embassies and international organizations unless they get government approval.
The switch, which came in mid August, gives credibility to an earlier report that unencrypted wireless networks at embassies were being used by North Korean citizens to gain uncensored access to the Internet.
Foreign missions and aid agencies were notified of the change in policy on August 20 in a communique from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the full text of which was published on Monday by NK News.
In it, the country’s State Radio Regulatory Department said unlicensed WiFi More >
When the isolated country hosted dozens of reporters, athletes and minor celebrities at its International Pro-Wrestling Contest in Pyongyang at the weekend, opinions on the experience were mixed to say the least. We took a look at the coverage.
Pyongyang is recovering from its International Pro-Wrestling Contest which saw North Koreans line up next to international wrestlers, including three Americans, over two days.
The event was organised by Antonio Inoki, a former a Japanese wrestler-turned-politician, best known for going up against Muhammad Ali in 1979.
Daum has launched a North Korean mapping service, becoming the first South Korean portal to offer maps of the country’s northern neighbor.
The maps are based on data from South Korea’s National Geographic Information Institute (NGII) and, according to local media, provide greater coverage of North Korea than Google Maps.
You can check the maps out for yourself on Daum’s mapping site.
The NGII’s data was previously available to South Korean government agencies and went on sale to the public in mid 2013. NGII offered the map, produced at a 1:25,000 scale, for 17,500 won (US$17).
It covers all of North Korea, detailing towns, roads, railways More >
South Korea’s top court has upheld the acquittal of a free-speech activist for retweeting North Korean tweets, according to several local media reports.
Park Jung-geun, a Seoul-based photographer, was arrested under the country’s anti-communist National Security Law for a series of tweets posted in late 2010 and early 2011. They included retweets from Uriminzokkiri, a China-based website with close links to the regime in Pyongyang, and some in which Park had substituted his own face in revolutionary imagery (see below).
A hackathon that aimed to find new ways to get information in, out and around North Korea took place over the weekend in San Francisco. The event, called “Hack North Korea,” was organized by New York-based charity Human Rights Foundation and brought together programmers, human rights campaigners and defectors.
Several teams spent the weekend working on ideas that would enable digital information to be concealed, hidden or otherwise transmitted without raising the suspicion of authorities. The ideas ran from the low-tech, using a catapult to fling things across the Yalu River that divides North Korea and China, to the high-tech, involving satellites, stenography and information More >
The website of the Korean Association of Cooks offers hundreds of recipes in addition to an introduction to restaurants in North Korea and details of the cooking association.
State media first reported on its launch in March 2012 and again in January of 2013 but both times it wasn’t accessible from the Internet. It was assumed to be an internal site on the Kwangmyong nationwide intranet system accessible in libraries and schools.
One of the most popular YouTube channels carrying North Korean content appears to have closed.
DPRK Music Channel posted music videos of North Korean patriotic songs and traditional ballads, usually sourced from Korean Central TV. The channel had amassed more than 1.3 million views as of February this year, making it the number six most popular channel although within striking distance of the fifth- and fourth-ranked channels.
But visit its YouTube channel page today and all you see is a message saying the account has been deleted.
The More >
The Korea National Insurance Corp., North Korea’s state insurance company, has its own website.
The company, which in the past has been accused of orchestrating international insurance fraud, offers basic information about itself and its financial health. While the site appears to be new, the information on it in both English and Korean dates to only 2012.
The official financial information shows a business that’s growing — just be sure to read the chart from right to left — with the amount of premiums and net worth up every year since 2008. But net profits have been sliding in recent years, down 40 percent in More >
North Korea has strict controls on internal movement, a scarcity of private car ownership and almost no Internet users. And now it’s also got satellite navigation through Google Maps.
The service is available through the web and mobile apps and allows users to calculate travel time by car or foot between points of interest in the Google database. It’s limited to roads that have already been mapped out on the service.
It’s been over a year since Google began adding roads, buildings, railway lines and other data to its map of North Korea. The country had for years appeared as a grey void but that More >