N Korea Presently Blocking Facebook, Twitter, Other Websites

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 9:55 AM

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications announcement was posted this week at the country'south main mobile service provider, Koryolink, and other places serving Internet users.

N Korea has officially announced it's blocking Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and S Korean websites in a move underscoring its concern with the spread of online information.

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications announcement was posted this week at the country'south main mobile service provider, Koryolink, and other places serving Internet users.

Very few N Koreans have Internet access. Typically they can look only a sealed-off, government-sanctioned intranet. But foreigners had previously been able to surf the Web with nearly number overt restrictions, though most likely with behind-the-scenes monitoring of their Internet activities.

The new restrictions will create it more challenging for visitors or the tiny community of foreign residents in N Korea to post real-time information about the country to the exterior world, and will further limit the skill of N Koreans with Internet access to view information about their country posted elsewhere.

The government announcement named YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Voice of America and S Korean media sites as specific examples of what it's blocking "for a certain period of time."

It also said gambling and "sex and adult websites" have been blocked.

Facebook and Twitter had been informally blocked for months and couldn't be accessed Friday in a Web look for from Pyongyang.

The announcement added that anyone who tries to hack onto such sites, access them in an "improper" way or disseminate "anti-republic data" from them will be subject to punishment below N Korean law. It didn't declare what the punishment would be.

The new N Korean restrictions are similar to Internet censorship in neighboring China, which allows more access in common but also maintains strict bans on sites that Beijing deems politically sensitive or socially harmful.

They also mirror some restrictions in S Korea, which, despite being one of the world'south most Internet-crazy countries, also bans N Korean websites and a wide variety of what the government deems to be adult content.

It's estimated that more than two million N Koreans presently utilize mobile phones, but with few exceptions access to the Internet is Ltd to officials, technicians or others who have special permission to utilize it, generally below close supervision.

N Korea decided in two thousand-thirteenth to authorize foreigners in the country to utilize 3G on their mobile phones, which generally require a local SIM card to obtain onto the Koryolink mobile carrier network.

That opened the door for them to surf the net and to post to social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. More recently, even live-streaming video had been posted using the new Twitter app Periscope.

But Pyongyang, looking to support control over the flow of news getting out and concerned that local people may have also been finding ways onto the Web, has been quietly experimenting with Internet controls for some time.

In June latest year, warnings began appearing on Instagram accounts in N Korea that claimed access to the favorite photo-sharing app was being denied for "harmful content." Access to other sites was also denied with a screen notification saying, "Warning! You can't connect to this website because it'south in blacklist site."

Instagram wasn't on the new list of officially banned sites and was functioning normally.

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