Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

11/14/2005

Can the Commies Control the Technology?

Filed under: Politics,Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:05 am

One of the especially nice things about the increasing miniaturization and spread of technology is that it's opening up worlds previously hidden to us. Sure, there are there are the pervs who use small cameras to take upskirt pics (I said here that science will always be exploited for pervy purposes), but there are also stories like this. In North Korea, dissidents have managed to smuggle out images and video of the prison camps Kim Jong Il's regime claims do not exist and also street scenes it would rather you not see:

Images from video smuggled from North Korea show a public execution and what appears to be a concentration camp housing political prisoners, according to a CNN documentary set to air Sunday night.

Sarah McDonald, who produced and directed the documentary, "Undercover in the Secret State," said her crew interviewed a man who had been in a camp shown in the movie.

"What he described, we didn't put it in the film," she said Friday from London, England. "It is so appalling, you just can't imagine. He said that 95 percent of people who go into that prison die in the prison. Their whole motivation is to kill these people, but they won't let them die easily.

"They — they torture them to death over a very long period of time."

Other images from the film include emaciated children begging and stealing on streets littered with dead bodies and a nearby market selling bags of rice that had been provided by the United Nations for famine relief.

Nothing quite like a worker's paradise.

Because cell phone cameras, as well as dedicated digital cameras and vidcams, are essentially spy cams and because they're in so many hands, we're getting to see things that simply weren't possible before now. Regimes are having trouble restricting their use.

This goes for technology generally. China censors what internet sites its citizens may see and has recently restricted cell phone text messaging. A communist country (especially of the Stalinist derivation) depends on being able to limit and monitor what information gets to its people. In the days of dinosaur media, this was a relatively easy task. Newspapers, broadcast TV, and movies1 were by nature large operations that could not be done discreetly; they required government patronage and control. Violations were obvious. Now, though, entire books can be carried on a memory card the size of a postage stamp. Publishing your thoughts to the world takes only a few mouse clicks. Audio podcasting is increasing in popularity and as memory and bandwidth costs lower, vidcasts will come along as well. And the commies are desperate to control it all.

It remains to be seen that they can. Information among a populace is like a flow of water. It will leak through any cracks it can find and will steadily beat at its barriers, constantly eroding them until it finally breaks through.


  1. Radio could be done more easily, but signal triangulation could find you out. It was usually left up to free radio operators on the borders broadcasting into the country. This is one reason why radios in North Korea must be registered with the government, are modified to receive only a few approved stations, and are subject to random searches to see if they've been tampered with. [back]

1 Comment »

  1. N. Korea has actually confiscated all of the wireless phones, not just limited text messaging.
    Funny thing about this is N. Korean government required a deposit that ranged in the thousands
    of dollars to have service. When they shutdown the service and took back the phones, the deposits weren’t
    refunded.

    Comment by Chris — 11/14/2005 @ 1:26 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress