Mobile Devices

January 21, 2013

Foreign Cell Phones to be Allowed in North Korea

Foreign cell phones will be allowed into North Korea after years of restrictions that prevented tourists from communicating with the outside world. Security regulations will still be in effect, prohibiting any form of mobile phone calls between foreigners and locals.

After years of having to leave your cell phone at the border prior to entering the country, priorities seemed to have changed when an Egyptian telecommunications firm built a 3G network in North Korea in 2009. Since the formation of the network, cell phone use has multiplied amongst the people.

Although the people of North Korea are offered access to a state-run online newspaper for free, there are still restrictions not allowing citizens to access the global Internet.

At the beginning of the month, Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, traveled to North Korea to persuade the government into allowing people better access to the internet.

“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,” Schmidt wrote in a Google blog after his trip, according to Yahoo news. “It will make it harder for (North Korea) to catch up economically.”

Even though the lift on foreign cell phone restrictions is a step forward, there are still some major issues in regard to North Korea’s control over its citizens. The most important reason, the reason for Schmidt’s trip to the country, is to increase the possibility for the people of North Korea to have access to the “World Wide Web.” But many other issues, such as famine, torture and government-controlled judiciary, are also in need of a renovation, according to Human Rights Watch.

For a more personal look into North Korea, Schmidt’s daughter, Sophie, traveled with her father to and documented her experience.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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