North Korean agent faces the firing squad after he was caught Googling ‘Kim Jong Un’
- North Korea strictly curtails internet access to prevent access to outside world
- Several agents from Bureau 10 caught surfing the web without authorisation
- Agents were dismissed and one who researched Kim Jong Un faces firing squad
A North Korean agent faces a firing squad after he was caught using his internet privileges to ‘Google‘ Kim Jong Un.
Several agents from the regime’s secretive Bureau 10, which snoops on all internal and external electronic communications, were caught surfing the web without authorisation.
North Korea strictly curtails internet access to prevent its people learning about the outside world, and even agents can’t get online without permission from their handlers.
But a Pyongyang source said the agents were ratted out by a colleague in the Ministry of State Security, sparking an inspection that revealed their illicit research.
The agents were dismissed, and one who researched Kim Jong Un now faces a firing squad, a ministry source told Daily NK, a newspaper based in neighbouring South Korea.
A North Korean agent faces a firing squad after he was caught using his internet privileges to Google Kim Jong Un (pictured on March 12)
The source said: ‘Bureau 10 departments are given access to the internet, which had allowed agents to turn off their search word recording devices and search the web as much as they like without issue.
‘But after a new bureau chief took over, even these previously routine issues have turned into major incidents.’
Greg Scarlatoiu, director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, said the regime’s information firewall was falling apart. He said: ‘Even the most trusted agents of the Kim regime are now attempting to access information from the outside world.
‘The Kim family regime has stayed in power through overwhelming coercion, punishment, surveillance and information control.
‘The regime continues to see the very limited information entering the country from the outside world as a grave threat to its grip on power.
‘Despite the regime’s efforts, the North Korean information firewall is slowly, but surely and steadily, crumbling.
‘Due to information surreptitiously smuggled into the country, the oppression North Koreans face will eventually come to a swift end.’
All the individuals caught were young, having started at the bureau late last year after graduation, with some mid-ranked and some higher-ranked.
The agents who were caught surfing the web were dismissed, and one who researched Kim Jong Un (pictured March 10) now faces a firing squad
According to Daily NK, they’d been developing computer programs for the country’s domestic firewall, as well as managing remote access, bugging and security systems.
The incident has now led to a heavy crackdown in the ministry, with investigators also probing whether the agents involved had leaked illicit information to others.
The actions of the agent who’d researched the leader were deemed especially unforgivable, since he was a ‘security warrior tasked with defending the Greatest Dignity [Kim Jong Un] with his life’. ‘This act alone… could get him shot,’ the newspaper wrote.
The article didn’t specify whether Google was the specific search engine used, but it is one of the two leading search engines in neighbouring South Korea, along with Naver.
Only a handful of North Koreans are permitted internet access; most are expected to make do with a regime-run intranet service where the flow of information is tightly monitored.