North Korea remains the country with the least press freedom in the world, according to the 2011 Press Freedom index from Washington, D.C., based Freedom House. The news isn’t a surprise to anyone that follows North Korea closely. There is a complete lack of independent media, official media is highly censored, and the government actively blocks foreign media from penetrating the country.
What’s perhaps more interesting is a drop in the rank of neighboring South Korea.
The survey ranks countries on 23 questions, assigning scores that are combined to provide a total. The total runs from 0 (best) to 100 (worst) and countries More >
Control of North Korea’s dot-KP Internet top-level domain has been assigned to Star JV, the North Korean-Thai joint venture that’s behind the recent wiring of Pyongyang to the global Internet.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which administers country code domains, updated its database on Monday, May 2, to assign the KP domain to “Star Joint Venture Company.”
This means control for the KP domain now rests with Star JV. Star took control of North Korea’s Internet address space last year and has been building up the North Korean Internet.
Switch of control to Star doesn’t come as a surprise as the company started More >
South Korean authorities are investigating whether a software engineer with links to North Korea stole government data and passed it to the country, according to several reports from Seoul.
The reports say the man allegedly stole information between 2005 and 2010 while working for a computer company tasked with developing software and systems for the South Korean government, reported The Associated Press from Seoul.
The man, who has not been identified, was convicted in 2002 of posting pro-North Korean information on websites, said the AP.
Despite that conviction, he was allowed to join a project working on the Korean Joint Command and Control More >
If you’ve ever listened to The Voice of Korea on shortwave, you’ve probably heard broadcasts from this transmitter site. Kujang is one of the largest transmitter locations in the DPRK with, according to official records, 5 shortwave transmitters each capable of delivering a 200kW signal. That’s powerful enough to reach most corners of the world, given a clear frequency and good conditions.
North Korea doesn’t publish detailed locations of its transmitter sites, but a bit of digging around on Google Earth and cross-referencing with Curtis Melvin’s North Korea Uncovered Google Earth file and the World Radio TV Handbook led me to this More >
North Korea’s international broadcasting service, The Voice of Korea, will launch a website on Friday, according to a domestic radio report transcribed by BBC Monitoring. (The site has launched a day early. See below for update.)
The site is due to open on Friday, which is Kim Il Sung’s birthday, and will be available at http://www.vok.rep.kp .
The report didn’t detail what the website would carry, but judging from comments and emails I receive concerning the frequency schedule, daily recordings of the station’s programming would be appreciated by its listeners. The shortwave signal is sometimes difficult to hear.
Voice of Korea broadcasts in Arabic, More >
Voice of Korea, the DPRK’s international shortwave broadcasting service, is on the air everyday in several languages. The English language broadcasts appear to be refreshed during the day (local time) with each programming cycle beginning with the evening broadcast and then getting repeated overnight.
The news output is similar to the English-language stories from KCNA, but there is minor editing. It’s generally a day behind the news being put out on the domestic service in Korean.
Each program is about 55 minutes long.
The English-language broadcast schedule for summer 2011 (period A11) effective March 27 to October 30 is:
0100 GMT (10am local) to More >
Websites such as the presidential office and Financial Services Commission were brought down by the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
A DDoS attack involves flooding a server with so many requests that it becomes clogged and cannot operate. This is typically done by harnessing a vast network of computers to send the traffic simultaneously and continuously.
Rather than buy and build the computers, hackers usually build this network by infecting PCs with illicit software. At More >
A delegation of North Korean officials toured Silicon Valley in California, according to several news reports. The group of 12 government employees had been in the U.S. on a 2-week trip organized by the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at University of California, San Diego.
They spent about 100 minutes inside Google from 10am on April 1. The visit was arranged with “tight security” and journalists were restricted from interacting with the North Koreans, according to a Yonhap News report.
Afterwards, they visited Stanford University for a lunch seminar. It was about industry-university cooperation and was attended by “U.S. experts on More >
North Korea attempted to jam GPS (global positioning system) satellite navigation signals in South Korea on Friday afternoon, according to a Yonhap News report that cited an unnamed South Korean defense official.
Jamming is the act of broadcasting a signal on the same channel as the intended target service so as to confuse or interfere with reception.
The report said GPS disruption was recorded in some devices in the capital Seoul and two cities closer to the border, Incheon and Paju.
One report said the disruption caused some cell phones to show the wrong time. No more details were provided, but that would More >