Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, had been to North Korea these last few days. Now that he is back from his trip, Schmidt has penned a post on Google+ elaborating the state of technology as well as internet access in the country. His views, more or less, confirm that North Korea is riddled with state-sponsored suppression of freedom of speech.
In the international comity of nations, North Korea has had a rather low record when it comes to freedom of speech and the right to express opinions. So when Eric Schmidt recently visited the country, he experienced as much. Schmidt’s trip was primarily meant to guage the technological capabilities of the country.
Writing about his findings, he stated, “Overall, the technology in North Korea is very limited right now. There is a 3G network that is a joint venture with an Egyptian company called Orascom. It is a 2100 Megahertz SMS-based technology network, that does not, for example, allow users to have a data connection and use smart phones.”
In comparison to its neighboring country of South Korea, North Korea is a long way behind in terms of communications technology. Moreover, the sheer lack of freedom of speech online has nabbed any technological innovation that may come from the citizens. In fact, the government actively curbs the access to internet by the public.
Schmidt said further in his note, “It was obvious to us that access to the Internet… was possible for the government, the military, and universities, but not for the general public. As the world becomes increasingly connected, the North Korean decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world and their economic growth. It will make it harder for them to catch up economically… It is their choice now, and in my view, it’s time for them to start, or they will remain behind.”
Source: Google Plus