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What's Eric Schmidt doing in North Korea

     
7:41 am on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What is one of the world's most prominent advocates of internet freedom doing in a country where unregulated access to information is generally either impossible or criminal?

Google chairman Eric Schmidt's "private" visit to North Korea raises many questions

[smh.com.au...]
PR Stunt?
Potential broker of peace on the planet?
Commercial use of personal time?
Not so secret agent of the CIA?
All or non of the above :)
8:58 am on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Access to the full-blown internet is for the super-elite only, meaning a few hundred people or maybe 1000 at most.

1024, to be exact. 175.45.176.0/22
5:30 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Offering to buy the country?
7:02 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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trying to hand register google.kp before someone else does.
4:46 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It's described as a 'private visit.' How odd is that?
Perhaps he's looking for a holiday home.


Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said he told North Korean officials that they must drop barriers to global Internet access if they hope to develop their economy.

"As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world," he told reporters in Beijing on Thursday, as he returned from a three-day trip to North Korea with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He added that it would "make it harder for them to catch up economically. We made that alternative very, very clear."

Mr. Schmidt called his trip "a private visit to North Korea to talk about the free and open Internet." Mr. Richardson described the discussions with North Koreans on technology as the most productive talks of the trip, adding that North Korean officials appeared open to technological exchanges.Google's Schmidt Presses North Korea on Web Barriers [online.wsj.com]
5:58 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Maybe he's looking forward to spring.
12:31 am on Jan 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It's described as a 'private visit.' How odd is that?

Is the man known to have a masochistic streak? The horse's mouth [travel.state.gov] tells us among other things that
There is no North Korean embassy in the United States. U.S. citizens and residents planning travel to North Korea may obtain DPRK visas only at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing, China, which will issue visas upon authorization from the DPRK Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang.

...
If you wish to ask the DPRK whether your application for a visa would be approved, you can address your inquiry to the Permanent Representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the United Nations in New York.

...
Foreign visitors to North Korea may be arrested, detained, or expelled for activities that would not be considered criminal outside the DPRK, including involvement in unsanctioned religious and political activities, engaging in unauthorized travel, or interaction with the local population.

...
North Korean authorities may seize documents, literature, audio and videotapes, computer equipment, compact discs

and-- OK, this is the last one--
If you require emergency services, you should inform your North Korean escorts and then inform the Swedish Embassy.

He doesn't have a Swedish connection does he? The implication seems to be that nobody is on speaking terms with North Korea, but Sweden is allowed to respond if someone screams "Hellllpp!"

On the whole, I'd rather go to Philadelphia.
3:53 pm on Jan 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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google.kp


Actually it would probably be google.rk. That's the extension for North Korea.

(I really wanted o.rk for an URL shortener, but so far they don't seem to be responding to my request)
4:17 pm on Jan 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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(I really wanted o.rk for an URL shortener, but so far they don't seem to be responding to my request)


Have you tried via the Swedish Embassy? ;)
9:10 am on Jan 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Maybe there's a business deal in the making. Googles investment diversification into wind farms is as bizarre to me as visits to this place. But what do we know?

The power elite in NK must be salivating at the chance of holding absolute commercial power when they look north to China and south to their brothers. Interesting times, as always.
8:37 pm on Jan 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think the underlying theme here isn't about Schmidt. It's about another instance of Bill Richardson interceding on behalf of another American citizen probably being detained for ransom (most likely not because he actually did anything to be held for "alleged crimes against the state"). It's probably something as simple as this time it's Schmidt who is footing the bill to buy-back the American citizen Kenneth Bae and in return he probably got to tag along in tow to get value for his purchase. He probably just wanted to observe first-hand how other dictatorships function.

Rather than the story I'm more amused by the picture of the minions sitting in that study room -- most of them have one hand on a mouse and the other one propping up their chins. They couldn't look any less enthusiastic if they tried. I'm also wondering about the group standing around what appears to be a lobby staring at monitors with wonder shinning in their eyes -- why are they all wearing winter coats indoors, can't afford to pay the heating bills?
8:59 pm on Jan 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just a friendly visit with his totalitarian pals. They probably swap notes.
12:24 am on Jan 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Actually it would probably be google.rk. That's the extension for North Korea.

(I really wanted o.rk for an URL shortener, but so far they don't seem to be responding to my request)


[iana.org...]

don't see a .rk there.
1:16 am on Jan 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Countries by themselves are on a different list [iso.org]. The Koreas are kp (north) and kr (south).

:: noting with fascination that the United Kingdom is abbreviated GB which will come as a surprise to all those .uk sites ::
8:32 pm on Jan 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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We've always been independant - ok, awkward! :)
2:55 am on Jan 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It's about another instance of Bill Richardson interceding on behalf of another American citizen probably being detained for ransom (most likely not because he actually did anything to be held for "alleged crimes against the state"). It's probably something as simple as this time it's Schmidt who is footing the bill to buy-back the American citizen Kenneth Bae and in return he probably got to tag along in tow to get value for his purchase. He probably just wanted to observe first-hand how other dictatorships function.

:: inescapable mental picture of PRK government functionary reading first two lines of visa application and reaching for 'DENIED' stamp ::

D'you suppose anyone, anywhere, has ever found 175.45.176-179 in their logs? (Answer: Well, yes, of course. The owners of the IP used by those 1024 trusted people as their proxy.)
9:59 pm on Jan 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Ah, now we know! He probably wants to update Google Maps in North Korea [cnn.com] with Street View.
5:33 pm on Jan 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Birds of a feather flock together...Evil empires unite.
5:47 pm on Jan 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Going back to that picture I mentioned about the individuals and their gestures; maybe the North Koreans still have a sense of humour left in themselves in an otherwise bleak existence.

That pose that most of them are striking is reminiscent of the famous "thinker statue". Maybe they were poking fun at Schmidt who once said "we know what you are thinking" as if to say to him "I bet you don't know what we are thinking".
 

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