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Pro-North Korean Sites Are Still Alive

Posted November. 17, 2004 23:00,   


“Pro-North Korea sites,” which were blocked by the government for their content supporting or admiring the North Korean regime, are reported to continue alluring Korean netizens (or nurikkun in Korean) by informing them of a detour to access them or their new URLs.

The Ministry of Information and Communication is now struggling to come up with measures to block nurikkuns’s access to certain overseas sites.

The Ministry of Information and Communication had directed several Internet service providers, including Korea Telecom (KT) and Hanaro Telecom, to block access to 31 “pro-North Korea sites.” But it was reported on Nov. 17 that most sites have continued the pro-North Korean activities on their sites, and are now using proxy servers in foreign countries.

Access to the National Democratic Front of South Korea (NDFSK), a pro-North Korean group, is currently blocked, but its proxy site enables viewers to access the contents of the NDFSK.

Pro-North Korean sites that are now using proxy servers are the Pro-Pyongyang Federation of Korean Residents in Japan, the Korea Book Center, the Homepage for Discussing Korean Reunification, and others.

These sites display links to other pro-North Korean sites, which means that access to one of them leads to all of them at once.

The Center for Korean Affairs, another group categorized as a pro-North Korea site, made two additional Internet addresses in preparedness for a likely access blockage. The site has informed its visitors to remember the preparatory link address because the center is likely to be blocked again.

Internet service providers, including Korea Telecom (KT) and Hanaro Telecom said that if they continue to use proxy servers of foreign countries, there is no way that the Korean government can possibly stop Korean nurikkuns from accessing those sites.

“Before carrying out these measures, we’ve already known that blocking access to certain foreign sites is technically impossible. We just hoped that it would at least interfere nurikkuns’ easy access to pro-North Korean sites,” said an official from the Ministry.

The proxy server visits an Internet site on behalf of nurikkuns and conveys the site contents to nurikkuns. Proxy servers, like logistic centers, save the information of a certain site and quickly forward it to nurikkuns. So, the server is often used as a detour for restricted sites due to political or religious reasons. Proxy means a person who acts for someone else.

Byong-Ki Lee Sang-Hoon Rhee eye@donga.com sanhkim@donga.com