While the country is ruled by dictator Kim Jong Un, who tries to put on a show for the rest of the world, most of North Korea’s 25 million citizens are quite poor and don’t have access to the internet. They only see what is broadcast on the government-run network of Kwangmyong, which one might imagine is censored and what the government wants its citizens to hear and see.
However, for those well-off members of North Korea’s elite families, internet access is unlimited, and they use sites such as Gmail, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, according to a recent report, the Washington Post said.
Researchers came to this conclusion after examining North Korean internet data.
“These leaders are doing many of the same things that we do when we wake up in the morning,” said Priscilla Moriuchi of Recorded Future, a threat intelligence firm that wrote the report, according to the Washington Post. “They’re not isolated.”
Again, this unlimited access doesn’t apply to most of the country’s people.
“But some North Koreans do have direct access to the internet through universities, select businesses and perhaps the homes of top government or military officials,” the Washington Post reported. “Whoever they are, 65 percent of their overall internet traffic was devoted to gaming and streaming online content. Among the most popular streaming services are China’s Youku video-hosting service and iTunes.”
And, “North Koreans with internet access have a particular fondness for Baidu, a Chinese search engine and internet services firm, as well for a multiplayer online game called World of Tanks, the researchers found,” the report said.
“The researchers also found that few of the elites on the internet in North Korea used virtual private networks or other tools for cloaking the origin of digital activity, although one iPad used a virtual private network ‘to check a Gmail account, access Google Cloud, check Facebook and MSN accounts, and view adult content,’ the report found. Other people with internet access used virtual private networks to make purchases using bitcoin, follow Twitter and upload documents to Dropbox,” the Washington Post said.