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Digital Government

North Korea Relaxes its Internet Grip, but Not Much

Last November, Techonomy contributor Gabriel Mizrahi wrote about how North Korea's strict prohibition of Internet access effectively quashes any hopes there for the kind of popular uprising seen in the Arab Spring. "This is the golden age of grassroots regime change," wrote Mizrahi. "Unless, of course, you [live] in North Korea." Until now, only a select group of government officials in Pyongyang could access the Web. Meanwhile, the mobile network Koryolink, which was developed by the Egyptian firm Orascom, has over 1 million North Korean subscribers, none of whom can pick up foreign networks or call outside the country. But in March North Korea will begin allowing Internet searches from laptops and mobile devices, as reported in the New York Times IHT Rendezvous blog. There's just one hitch. Only foreigners will have the privilege of accessing the 3G mobile Internet service to be offered by Koryolink.   More

Digital Government

Why Revolution Can’t Come to North Korea

If you woke up tomorrow morning with the desire to, say, overthrow your government, you couldn't have picked a better day. Before you left the house, you could tag some inspirational photos of homemade signs on Facebook; Tweet out a few patriotic blasts with locations of the day's protest spots; email friends, family, and sympathetic bloggers with firsthand reports and mission statements; Skype with a foreign journalist in one of those romantic grainy interviews you see on CNN; and, if you had a few extra minutes, create a Freedom Playlist to rock out to, because every revolution needs a soundtrack. This is the golden age of grassroots regime change. Unless, of course, you woke up in North Korea.   More