Smartphone app helps North Koreans avoid state surveillance
efforts by the North Korean authorities to monitor and track North Korean residents to prevent them from accessing outside information, some residents are sidestepping these efforts through a smartphone app.
The app is popular among university students in particular, given their interest in such information, sources in North Korea reported.
“The authorities are cracking down on the transfer of unsigned files that have not been approved by the authorities onto North Korean-made cell phones,” a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK March 19. “They have guessed that there is an increase in people who are watching videos thanks to that app.”
“If someone is caught with illegal videos on their phone or distributing them, their phones may be confiscated, and they may be fined 1,000 to 3,000 yuan, or in extreme cases, spend one to six months in a disciplinary labor center,” she said.
Smartphones generally have an internal verification process to check external files. North Korean smartphones, however, are designed to run only those files verified by the government, and files that have been executed have a tag added to them. The system allows tracking of the entire process of creating, viewing and distributing such files.
Moreover, North Korea’s criminal code states that those who import, produce, distribute, listen to, or view pictures, photos, books, music and movies from abroad violate a law against the import and distribution of culture (Section 183) and a law against decadent acts (Section 184). They can face up to one year of “short-term disciplinary labor” or up to 10 years of “reform through labor.” ......