Shedding light on Kim's remarks about North Korea and the 'Net

Everybody's an Internet expert these days, so it's hardly shocking that North Korean President Kim Jong Il would claim such expertise for himself.

Whether Kim has any basis in fact for the boast may be debatable, but, uh, you go ahead and tell him he's full of it.

What I found more interesting about Kim's Internet-related remarks being reported today was the second part of this quote: "I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired. ... If that problem is addressed, there is no reason not to open" the Internet.

Kim didn't specify what "problem" stood in the way of ubiquitous 'Net access for his people, but it's being speculated that he was speaking of his government's need to maintain its legendary grip on the flow of information. From AP: "North Korea is one of the world's most closed nations, with the totalitarian regime tightly controlling outside information and tolerating no dissent. Radios and TV sets in North Korea can only receive state broadcasts and ordinary people are banned from using mobile phones, let alone the Internet."

Good theory, but I've got another one, whether or not it's what Kim had in mind.

Look at that picture (one of the most remarkable I've ever seen). Yes, it's been around for a few years, but there certainly would appear to be problems "if other regions of the North are wired," primary among them being that so much of the North looks to lack an essential element of networking: electricity.


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