Image Grab: Reporters Without Borders (http://fr.rsf.org)
North Korea has finally allowed foreigners access to the internet from their mobile devices and laptops with the country’s borders- the North Koreans, however, are still not allowed to do so, according to news reports.
The North Korean government has allowed a company called Koryolink, a joint venture between Korea Post & Telecommunications Corporation and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE, to provide access to 3G mobile internet service to foreigners by March 1, 2013. The announcement has been made only weeks after the government had allowed foreigners to bring their own mobile phones in the country. Prior to this, they had to surrender their phones with the customs agents.
The decision is also being considered to be the outcome of Google’s Eric E. Schmidt's visit to North Korea to allow the availability of internet through Koryolink’s expanding 3G network. Schmidt’s appeal was directed towards granting the access to North Koreans however and not just foreigners.
North Korea has been described as the world’s worst Internet black hole. Internet access is illegal in the country and only a few government officials are allowed access while the rest of the citizens use North Korea’s own internet called Kwangmyong.
The debate remains, that North Koreans are still deprived of the facility and remain virtually isolated. The internet censorship’s core issue in the country remains the same if we think closely about it. But then, this could be a step towards opening doors for the citizens too.
That, however, remains to be seen.