Google's Schmidt returns from North Korea urging internet reform

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Eric Schmidt Testify

Google chairman Eric Schmidt returned from his jaunt to North Korea urging the communist country to extend web freedoms to its citizens.

Schmidt's delegation had been in North Korea advocating for its leaders to allow more citizens access to an open internet. As it currently stands very few in the country have the clearance and resources to use the web.

The Associated Press reported Schmidt and others toured North Korea and met with its leaders over the past few days. The Google exec also visited the capital, Pyongyang.

Schmidt has been a major proponent of a more open internet for many years. He and fellow Googler Jared Cohen even have a book on the subject set to come out in April.

While his calls for change are admirable, North Korea doesn't look to change its outlook on the internet anytime soon. The country's leader, Kim Jong-Un, has yet to make any indication that he is considering bringing a more open internet to the country.

Censorship and a struggling economy mean it's difficult for many to get online. As it currently stands only the wealthiest and most connected in the country have access to the web.

Even if those problems were able to be worked out, North Korea would have to contend with diminishing relations with other countries. North Korea is currently facing potential UN sanctions following unauthorised tests of nuclear weapons.

10 Jan 2013

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