Google exec Eric Schmidt calls on North Korea to drop internet restrictions

10 Jan 2013

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt

Not dropping internet access restrictions for North Korean citizens will only hinder economic development, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has told North Korean officials.

“As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their view of the world,” The Wall Street Journal reported Schmidt as having said to reporters at a press conference in Beijing, China, today.

“They have to make it possible for people to use the internet, which the government in North Korea has not yet done. It’s their choice now, and in my view it’s time now for them to start or they will remain behind,” Schmidt added.

Schmidt, along with former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, just completed a three-day trip to North Korea, a country in which most of the 24m citizens have no access to the internet.

The ‘internet’, reported ZDnet, is only accessible through Red Star, a state-run operating system.

Red Star restricts anything that is not under North Korean control, including popular social networking sites.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic