Students at North Korea’s premier university showed Google’s executive chairman Tuesday how they look for information online: they Google it.
But surfing the Internet that way is the privilege of only a very few in North Korea, whose authoritarian government imposes strict limits on access to the World Wide Web.
University students at exclusive North Korean institutions like Kim Chaek University of Science and Technology, and the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, have carefully monitored Internet access — and are under strict instructions to access only educational materials — most North Koreans have never surfed the Web.
Computers at Pyongyang’s main library at the Grand People’s Study house are linked to a domestic Intranet service that allows them to read state-run media online and access a trove of reading materials culled by North Korean officials. North Koreans with home computers can also sign up for the Intranet service.
But access to the World Wide Web is extremely rare and often is limited to those with clearance to get on the Internet.