North Koreans are getting around their country’s glorious censorship by sharing files on USB sticks and MP3 players.
A new book, “A Quiet Opening”, by Nat Kretchin and Jane Kim, uses information gathered from defectors and refugees to paint a picture of how technology is getting around the country’s extreme censorship.
North Korea is officially isolated from the outside world and its citizens are fed a strictly controlled and limited diet of media.
According to Ars Technica, after a severe famine in the late 1990s, many North Koreans’ faith in their government was shaken. Now it appears that people are slowly gaining an understanding of the outside world using technology.
Connected officials and elites are able to buy MP3 players, DVDs, and USB sticks from connections in China, and the contents are handed around.
More than 70-80 percent of those who have MP3/4 players are young people and most of them are listening to South Korean music.
Families and friends often gather together to watch the latest episodes of the most popular South Korean shows. These fly in the face of the government’s propaganda that the South is poor and repressive, because they can see the truth.
While it has been known that officials have known the truth, it seems these files are filtering down to other families.
One school computer class would copy files for each other, which was a crime once considered unthinkable.