Friday, February 04, 2011

North Korea and the Internet

The internet may give the impression that it is a decentralized, people-powered network, almost free from establishment control, but the embattled Egyptian government’s success cutting off its citizens for most of the past week suggests otherwise.

Of course, the Egyptian blackout was a tactical failure and didn’t stop people gathering in their hundreds of thousands to demand change. If it had an effect, the most import role of the internet in these protests – that of spreading ideas and increasing aspirations - had already been played.

Of the world’s undemocratic regimes, only North Korea apparently appreciates these long term dangers to the status quo. Only the party elite get access, and Kim Jong-Il has described himself as an “internet expert”.

Yet just as it’s unlikely that Mubarak will be the last undemocratic leader to be pushed out by the anger sweeping the Arab world, it seems unlikely he will be the last to switch off the internet on his way.

The Telegraph

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