In your wildest nightmares, you’ve either lost all your teeth or you no longer have access to the Internet. You can’t snap to your hearts content, you can’t stay on top of Twitter trends and your YouTube subscription box isn’t just empty – it’s non-existent. However, in a scary turn of events, this isn’t just a nightmare for people living in North Korea, it’s now 100% reality.
Announced this morning by The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, North Korea is officially blocking access to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and some South Korean websites to every single person living in the country. Whilst only a select few Korean’s have access to the Internet in the first place, this means a widespread ban for social networking for anybody lucky enough to have a mobile phone – which turns out is only about 8% of their 24.9 million population.
Before the ban, only a sealed-off, government-sectioned intranet could be viewed, and even this was HIGHLY supervised to ensure that nothing was being posted internationally that the Republic didn’t want being seen. This is the latest move from North Korea following their growing concern about the spread of online information meaning that these social media platforms, in addition to gambling and “sex and adult websites”, will be blocked “for a certain period of time”.
To underpin the importance of these new restrictions, the announcement also added, according to Associated Press, that anyone who tries to hack onto any of the newly banned sites in an “improper” way or distribute “anti-republic data” will be subject to “punishment under North Korean law”. The new block also spells bad news for expats and tourists trying to get online during trips to North Korea, where they used to be allowed to access the country’s 3G internet connection to post real-time information of their travels.
So if a connection to the Internet is a total priority for you, then we’d suggest you consider booking your Spring Break somewhere else…