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 >
North Korea’s state-run news agency issued a sharp criticism over the weekend of U.S. funding of technology projects that attack censorship.
The commentary, published on Saturday, points to dissatisfaction among the North Korean elite with U.S. funding of projects that enable the free flow of information and bypass Internet censorship.
It comes as U.S. State Dept.’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) is evaluating proposals for its latest round of funding aimed at human rights and democracy in North Korea. The DRL is offering up to $350,000 to organizations for projects targeted at the DPRK.
North Korea maintains one of the most formidable state-sanctioned censorship regimes in the More >
Three of North Korea’s state security and censorship organizations have been called out by Reporters Without Borders in the organization’s latest ranking of “Enemies of the Internet.”
The report was published on Wednesday, which RSF and Amnesty International have named world day against cyber censorship.
The three organizations named by RSF are the Central Scientific and Technological Information Agency, which runs the domestic intranet system, Group 109, which attempts to police distribution of illegal foreign content, and Bureau 27, which monitors cell phones and radio broadcasts.
RSF calls Group 109 “censorship’s elite force” and draws on testimony provided to the United Nations that claims More >
Will Scott, a computer scientist from Washington state, just returned from several months as a guest lecturer at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST).
In an interview with North Korea Tech and in posts on Reddit, Scott spoke about what it’s like to be at PUST.
This is part two of a three-part series. Part one published yesterday covered life at PUST and part three looks at North Korea’s Red Star Linux.
When PUST was first proposed, the school said it was intending to use a satellite More >
Almost ten years in planning, PUST is the country’s first privately-run university and backed with funds from evangelical Christian organizations in the U.S. and overseas.
It currently has several hundred students and guest lecturers make semester-long commitments to PUST and travel from overseas to teach students.
One such lecturer, Will Scott from Washington state, has just returned from the university.
Through a series of posts on Reddit and in emails with North Korea Tech, Scott provided a glimpse into what it’s More >
The verdict, which likely comes as no surprise to anyone that watches the country, was included in the New York-based group’s annual “World Report” on human rights in countries around the world.
“The government continues to impose totalitarian rule,” the report said.
Five pages are devoted to North Korea and sum up the government’s use of torture and executions, prison camps, restrictions on movement, refugees and labor rights.
On the issue of freedom of access to information, the report More >
KCNA Watch, a website that collects articles, pictures and video from the Korean Central News Agency, isn’t making friends on either side of the Korean border.
A communications regulator in South Korea has blocked access to the service while the North Korean government has restricted access to its services from New Zealand, apparently due to the way KCNA Watch collects its stories.
The South Korea block, which happened on Friday, was reported over the weekend by NK News. KCNA Watch currently operates as a part of NK News.
Visitors to the site More >
Despite living in one of the most wired societies in the world, South Korean Internet users enjoy a “partly free” Internet due to government censorship of content, according to the results of a global survey on Internet freedom.
Censorship of content, which includes many websites that carry North Korean content, has shot up in recent years.
The government’s own figures show 25,706 items were blocked in the first six months of 2013, compared to 39,296 sites in all of 2012. Five years ago in 2008, just 4,731 sites were blocked.
Google has posted video of Eric Schmidt’s remarks at the recent “Big Tent” event in Washington, D.C.
The Google-organized events act as idea summits and have been running for about three years and the D.C. event took place on April 26.
During his speech, the chairman of Google talked about North Korea and the impact that the connected world, and the Internet in particular, would have on authoritarian countries.
“In North Korea we visited with the government, of course that’s all there is in North More >