North Korea makes cellphone usage a 'war crime' under 100 days of mourning

North Korea makes cellphone usage a 'war crime' under 100 days of mourning

Summary: During the 100 day mourning period for Kim Jong-Il, citizens in North Korea are banned from using mobile phones, and those caught will be treated as 'war criminals'.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware, Mobility
10

Recent reports suggest that citizens in North Korea are being warned of 'dire consequences' of mobile phone usage in the 100 days mourning period for Kim Jong-il.

Any citizens caught using their mobile phones, or trying to defect to China, in the 100 day period will be considered 'war criminals' and face severe punishments.

Kim Jong-il died on December 17th, and the nation is still within its lengthy mourning period. Many surrounding countries were put on alert following the dictator's death, with concerns over a potential power struggle in the country.

Considering there is an estimated 700,000 North Korean's using the country's 3G network --- established in 2008 --- the 100-day ban will significantly dampen communications. The Internet is severely restricted in North Korea, with only a handful of people having any sort of access to it.

The motivation behind this mobile usage ban may well be fear. North Korea is still in a very unsteady state, and there are reports of concern that there might be civil unrest after Jong-il's death.

Reports sent to mobile phones about the outside world, and as the Telegraph notes, the successful uprising's in the Middle East last year may fuel those flames.

With food supplies in North Korean apparently dwindling, many citizens are trying to defect. Already, around 23,000 people are estimated to have fled the country for South Korea, and there has been an increase in the number of North Koreans attempting to cross the borders into China.

Human rights groups are warning of the unfortunate consequences of these attempts, however, explaining that those caught attempting to flee or who are sent back from China face imprisonment in labour camps and execution for repeat offenders.

Related:

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

10 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: North Korea makes cellphone usage a 'war crime' under 100 days of mourning

    The would be having mass exections if that were taking place in the US with all the cell phone addicts we have. I wouldn't be against mandatory jail time though for those caught texting while driving or holding a phone up to their ear while driving.
    Test Subject
  • That's harsh

    Still, that's their country.

    They're best left alone and ignored.

    Until their people decide there is a better way.
    HypnoToad72
    • Some truth to this

      @HypnoToad72 <br>While I'm not in favor of breaking the truce that has been in place for over half a century and I believe that nations are much more likely to stay free if they free themselves, foreign governments are not and should not be immune from criticism; especially totalitarian ones like North Korea (by most accounts, one of the most tyrannical regimes on the planet).<br><br>If criticism and exposure of abuse constitute interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, then so be it.

      Forgot to mention:<br><br>It's kind of hard to ignore North Korea given all the troops and weapons along the DMZ (which we help guard) and 60 years of sabre rattling (along with the occasional missile launch). And there's little doubt what would happen if the U.S. were foolish enough to withdraw. The DMZ should be guarded well until the Kim Dynasty collapses under its own weight, as it surely will.<br><br>Reply to otaddy:<br><br>Reunification may be difficult, but it will ultimately be necessary as the Communist regime in North Korea is not sustainable and Korea is still one nation (one of the two things North and South Koreans agree upon; the other being the language).<br><br>Perhaps you can enlighten us as to why you think the U.S. is a police state comparable to North Korea.
      John L. Ries
      • And reunification would be difficult

        @John L. Ries No way the south could absorb all these people anyways.

        This is best done slowly over time. North Korea, like any totalitarian state, will eventually collapse due to its own stupidity.
        otaddy
      • And I hope the US closes its prison camps

        @John L. Ries Just read up on the NDAA...

        Maybe someone will come and liberate us from our out of control rulers.
        otaddy
    • Agreed, except for one point

      @HypnoToad72 All those housed in the camps should be allowed to leave. With all the money the US govt wastes destroying things around the world, we could instead put our money where are mouth's are and truly provide freedom rather than just talk about it.
      otaddy
    • North Korea makes its a crime to think for yourself

      @HypnoToad72
      I view this use of cell phones as nothing surprising in that context.
      :|
      Tim Cook
  • RE: North Korea makes cellphone usage a 'war crime' under 100 days of mourning

    LoL
    MoeFugger
  • Big rips

    To each their own.
    klumper
  • Got to love the redefinition of terms

    Calling cellular phone usage a "war crime" ranks up there with calling a one party dictatorship a "people's democracy".
    John L. Ries