Dying to Communicate: North Koreans Struggle for Access to the Outside World


People are literally dying to access information in North Korea today.

North Korea

More recently, North Koreans have been turning to cell phones to illegally access information by calling relatives outside the country. Illicit cell phone usage, especially for calls outside the country, is punishable by hefty fines, detention, and even public executions for high profile cases. During the 100-day mourning period after Kim Jong Il’s recent death, the new leader declared that anyone caught using a mobile phone for the ‘wrong’ reasons would be tried and punished as a war criminal. Nonetheless, a growing number of people are taking great risks to smuggle Chinese phones into the country, and use such phones on the Chinese wireless network. In order to decrease the number of people illicitly using phones, the government has been using Russian and German listening devices to catch people using illegal phones to arrest and punish them.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons