Posts tagged IDG
North Korea’s Dot-KP domain name system returned to the Internet in the last few days. (See the bottom of this post for updates.)
Offline for months, the service has resumed via servers run by Star JV, the Internet joint venture formed by the North Korean government and Thailand’s Loxley Pacific. As reported previously, dot-kp was run by the KCC Europe operation in Germany but went offline in the third quarter of last year.
Two websites are already available via KP domain names. Both are hosted on the same web server. The first, Naenara, has been available for a few months via an IP address and the second, Friend.com.kp, has been offline since its domain name disappeared. You can find out more about each site in The North Korean Website List.
I’ve done a little digging around in the DNS (domain name system) records for KP and found the following eight KP top-level domains have been prepared for future use: net.kp, com.kp, edu.kp, gov.kp, org.kp, rep.kp, tra.kp and co.kp.
Both Naenara and Friend are already using com.kp. A domain name has been prepared for the Star Internet provider: star.net.kp, and one for the state-run Korea Posts and Telecommunications Co.: kptc.kp. I can’t find any other registered domain names at present.
The site also appears to be available via a Chinese name, www.kp.col.cn, but I have no details on that name or how it relates to the site.
UPDATE 2: My story at PC World: North Korean Domain Names Return to the Internet
North Korea’s dot-kp domain space could be back on the Internet soon. Domain name servers responsible for dot-kp have been offline for several months as have a handful of websites that used them.
With no servers the entire dot-kp address space, which only amounted to a handful of sites, has been out of operation. On Monday the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which coordinates the Internet’s top-level domains, updated the KP information to point to new servers.
Here’s more on the story, including some background about dot-kp’s mysterious disappearance:
- North Korea moves to bring KP top-level domain back online, Network World, Jan. 3, 2011.
The new servers aren’t yet online, but their numeric IP addresses are within the North Korean network being run by Star JV, the joint venture between Pyongyang and Thailand’s Loxley Pacific.
Here’s IANA’s current listing (at time of writing) for dot-kp. I’ve highlighted the new information in yellow:
The kptc.kp domain names likely refer to the Korea Posts and Telecommunications Co.
The addresses for domain name registration, WHOIS (an Internet service that provides information on the ownership of a domain name) and some other data in the record still point to KCC Europe, the previous operator. It’s unknown if KCC Europe will continue to play a part in the operation of the dot-kp domain.
Naenara, one of the websites that previously used a dot-kp address, recently returned online from within the same network. It’s using an ungainly numeric address because the dot-kp service was offline, but it will presumably become accessible at “naenara.kp” once again when these DNS servers are up and running.
I have some more information on dot-kp domain names and I’ll post it soon.
South Korea’s government is planning to further restrict its citizens from accessing, discussing or forwarding North Korean propaganda activity on social-networking services, such as Twitter.
The plans were outlined in the Justice Ministry’s plan for 2011, which was presented on Tuesday, although lacked specifics.
The South already blocks about 30 pro-North Korean websites although never had to worry about social media until Uriminzokkiri launched a Twitter feed earlier this year.
The moves follows the sinking of the Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong island and comes despite an already tightening grip on South Korean netizens.
According to a report in the Korea Times from September:
The police forced website operators to delete 42,787 pro-North Korean posts on the Internet in the first half of the year, up about 100 times compared to five years ago, according to data released by Rep. Ahn Hyoung-hwan of the governing Grand National Party Thursday.
Under the previous liberal Roh Moo-hyun administration, the number of censored online articles stood only at 1,238 in 2005; 1,388 in 2006; 1,434 in 2007; 1,793 in 2008.
The director of a cyber crime team at the National Police Agency noted that the number has sharply increased after the Lee administration took office in 2008, jumping to 14,430 in 2009.
— Korea Times, Sept. 9, 2010
The Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act makes it an offense to have contact with North Koreans without first informing the government.
North Korean shops have begun selling a new PDA (personal digital assistant), according to the blog of a Russian studying in the country.
The Pyongyang Show and Tell blog, which also introduced us to Red Flag Linux, has some pictures of the PDA and a few technical specs.
It appears to be very much in the style of the PDAs or multimedia players that were popular in the early to mid part of the last decade. There’s no branding on the case that’s visible from the images.
I contacted the student, who doesn’t want to be identified, and asked him a little bit more about the PDA. You can see his responses in my story at PC World. I’ve also got tech highlights of the PDA in story.
As I was reading his blog, it reminded me of a North Korean PDA from the past. Back in 2003 the Samilpo Information Center, one of the regional branches of the Korea Computer Center, reportedly began selling a PDA called “Hana 21.”
Comparing the two (Hana 21 pictured right) the 2003 model looks much more like a PDA in the style of the Palm Pilot or its competitors. The new model has a more minimalistic face and no buttons. It’s perhaps more influenced by multimedia players or tablet PCs.
The Hana 21 was supposed to target not just North Koreans but also South Koreans and Korean residents living in Japan, according to an article in the Japan-based The People’s Korea newspaper. I’m not sure if it ever went on sale. I never saw any mention of it, except in news reports from 2003.
PDAs went out of fashion when smart phones began offering the same functions combined with data networking. Perhaps the launch of this PDA means a smart phone isn’t too far behind for North Korea’s 3G network.
Today I had the chance to meet and hear Jiro Ishimaru of AsiaPress speak at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. He was there to talk about how the Japanese news agency manages a small network of North Koreans who report from inside the country and smuggle out images and video.
The network is fascinating to hear about, as are Ishimaru’s stories about information flow both ways across the Chinese border.
- Most young people in major cities have seen South Korean TV dramas.
- The dramas are recorded in China from satellite broadcasts and appear quickly in local markets.
- They are smuggled into North Korea, where they are duplicated and distributed on DVD and Video CD.
- Even the wealthy and those with good jobs are bored of propaganda and want to watch something interesting.
- Sometimes the police raid the market, but even the police want to watch the dramas.
Called “Rimjin-gang,” the 495-page book is divided into four main sections dealing with the economy, the people, the Kim Jong-Il regime and state oppression.
It’s published by AsiaPress itself.
It can be ordered directly from the company and costs 9,000 yen, which is US$112 at the current exchange rate.
I covered the event for IDG and wrote a piece about the use of digital technology by AsiaPress. The digital door to North Korea has already opened.
I think that unless Kim Jong-Il’s administration takes a drastic step of completely banning all forms of digital media, there is no way it can stop the flow of information going into and out of North Korea.
I asked him if he thought this would happen.
I don’t think there is anyway the leaders can put a stop to this.
Here’s the presentation.
The event included an introduction by Bradley Martin, a noted North Korea expert, author and contributor to Global Post. This video includes the presentations of both Martin and Ishimaru and is in four parts. Ishimaru’s video presentation has not been included due to copyright restrictions and a request from Ishimaru.
South Korea has begun blocking domestic access to the recently launched KCNA website that operates from North Korea’s IP space. Internet users trying to access the site now get redirected to the National Police Agency’s static warning page.
The move isn’t a surprise. The writing was on the wall for the website as soon as it started getting reported in South Korean media.
I checked this afternoon and the government hasn’t blocked the entire IP address range. Right now it looks like it’s just affecting the single KCNA website.
Here’s my story: PC World
Uriminzokkiri.com, the closest thing North Korea has to an official home page, got social in July when it joined Twitter and Facebook.
The move generated lots of publicity and helped drive Internet users to follow its tweets and status-updates, but also drew the attention of the governments in Seoul and Washington.
Uriminzokkiri’s moves into social media began a few weeks earlier with the launch of a YouTube channel, but that was largely unnoticed. A few news organizations picked up on the launch including AFP, which provided a sense of the channel’s content.
One English-language video with a duration of five minutes and 56 seconds praised leader Kim Jong-Il, calling him as a “general sent by the heaven.”
Another clip posted a week ago berates South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan over his controversial remarks last month that young South Korean leftists should not enjoy freedom in the South but should live under Kim Jong-Il.
In mid-August Uriminzokkiri followed up with the launch of a Twitter feed (@uriminzok), and suddenly the world’s media began paying attention. Over the next few days tens of stories were published on the feed, which was used to send out Korean-language headlines and links to articles on the Uriminzokkiri Web site and links to the YouTube channel.
In my article, “North Korean Jumps onto Twitter,” I wrote about the first messages:
The first message was posted to the account on Aug. 12 and declared (in Korean) “The Web site ‘Our Nation’ is on Twitter.”
It was followed by three messages pointing to important documents: a 1997 essay written by defacto leader Kim Jong Il on reunification, the North-South Joint Declaration of June 15, 2000, and the declaration issued after the North-South summit of Oct. 4, 2007. Subsequent updates have pointed to recent news articles.
It didn’t take very long for Twitter users to start noticing the account and signing up to follow the tweets.
Among those who chimed in on the new account was Philip Crowley, a U.S. state department spokesman, who commented on his own Twitter account (@pjcrowley):
“The North Korean government has joined Twitter, but is it prepared to allow its citizens to be connected as well?”
Within a few days the account had amassed more than 10,000 followers, including some who appeared to be South Korean. The government in Seoul quickly reacted by warning users against following the account and put in place blocks on the page. The Chosun Ilbo reported “A tweet from Pyongyang could land you in jail“:
“In case the account is discovered to be owned by North Korea, replies to the posts or any form of communication with the account without taking the steps to report those actions carries the chance of violating the inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act,” said Lee. Viewing the North Korean YouTube clips doesn’t violate the law.
The inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act states any persons who take part in any exchange with North Korea can be subject to up to three years in prison or up to 10 million won ($8,520.79) in fines.
“Facebook is based on real people making real-world connections and people on Facebook will get the most value out of the site by using their real identity,” said Kumiko Hidaka, a spokeswoman for Facebook, by e-mail. “So posing as a person or entity you don’t officially represent is a violation of our policies, and that’s why those profiles in questions have been removed.”
I pressed Facebook and they explained it was all down to the type of account that had been set up. Uriminzokkiri should have created a page, not a personal account. The Web site hasn’t tried to create the account again, it remains down at time of writing, so it’s unclear if it will fall foul of some other restriction should it be created as a page.
Uriminzokkiri has come out swinging against the South Korean block, according to Daily NK. The Web site translated a post that called the Twitter block a “reckless infringement upon the right to know.”
“The South Chosun traitor factions are busily engaged in blocking the ‘Uriminjok’ accounts on You Tube and Twitter,” adding, “This is a stupid move that only computer-illiterates would do in the information age.”
Currently the Facebook group is still down, the YouTube channel continues to carry videos from Korean Central TV, and the Twitter channel is active with over 10,000 followers.
The Twitter channel has evolved in sophistication over its first few weeks. At first it posted full links to the Uriminzokkiri Web site, but soon caught on to URL shortners. In recent days it has begun replying to a few Twitter messages that have come in from followers.