South Korea's Internet Is More Oppressive Than You Think

Everybody's been freaking out in the past couple of weeks by news that South Korea is building a new broadband network that will be 50 times faster than the average connection in the United States. That's fast! Too bad South Koreans won't be able to use maps or access thousands of sites.

The Economist just published some less than flattering details of South Korea's recent internet policy. It's pretty discouraging. Did you know, for instance, that Korean censors deleted about 23,000 web pages last year and blocked an additional 63,000? Did you know you can't access any North Korean websites from South Korea? It gets worse:

A law dating back to the Korean war forbids South Korean maps from being taken out of the country. Because North and South are technically still at war, the law has been expanded to include electronic mapping data—which means that Google, for instance, cannot process South Korean mapping data on its servers and therefore cannot offer driving directions inside the country. In 2010 the UN determined that the KCSC "essentially operates as a censorship body."

Welp, at least the uncensored sites will load pretty quickly. That means less time for South Koreans to sit around wondering where the rest of the internet is. [Economist]