Information Warfare: Video Critics With A License To Kill


December 15, 2021: North Korea recently renamed their Unified Command on non-socialist and anti-socialist behavior to the less obvious Unified Command 82. North Korea always assigns cryptic numbers to organizations involved in illegal or embarrassing activities, like assassination, obtaining foreign goods for North Korea leaders, kidnapping foreigners to work in North Korea and counterfeiting.

Until the recent name change North Korea was escalating its efforts to keep foreign media, especially from China and South Korea, out of North Korea. That media has become easier to smuggle in because of microcomputer technology. More North Koreans can afford electronic devices to view forbidden content stored on USB or MicroSD devices crammed with recent Chinese and South Korean entertainment and especially South Korean TV news shows. MicroSD cards are cheap, a few dollars for a Chinese or South Korean card holding at least 32 gigabytes of data. More recent SD cards can hold two terabytes (2,000 gigabytes). These tiny cards are often used for smuggling in South Korean movies and TV shows. Possessing one of these SD cards in North Korea is considered treason. The distribution groups will duplicate videos on USBs or MicroSDs and sell these for up to $12 each or an equivalent amount in Chinese or North Korean currency. While many of the distributors are crafty lower-class types, many of the buyers are children of the upper class “cadres” who run the country. The police initially offered lenient punishment for the growing number of cadre kids they catch viewing forbidden videos, but only if they revealed who they got the forbidden material from. The distributors respond by developing more furtive operations.

Some of the cadre kids have become duplicators and distributors and are easier to catch. Lower class distributors are often executed but so far, the cadre class distributors have been spared that, although longer sentences in labor camps can be a death sentence for a cadre kid not accustomed to surviving on little food in a harsh and hostile atmosphere. The government is very upset at the growing lawlessness and defiance by the children of cadre. That is one reason for hiding details of the government program to eliminate this threat behind the new name; Unified Command 82.

Initially, North Korea thought they had controlled the spread of the Internet and cell phones among the population. Cell phones were often used to view forbidden videos. There is an Internet in North Korea, but it is restricted to North Korea and government approved websites. Any messages posted on these sites are saved and examined for non-socialist and anti-socialist content using censoring software supplied by China. The Chinese have come to dominate the market for Internet and telephone monitoring and censoring systems and exports most of them to like-minded nations.

So far this hasn’t worked because there are a growing number of North Korea hackers who quietly work against the government rather than for the government. Many of these hackers are cadre kids and a growing number of clever and hard-to-detect cell phone hacks enable users to put forbidden media on their phone and view it, while keeping the data and viewer invisible to police inspections. Sometimes the cops can bring in one of the professional North Korean hackers, who have better things to do than hunt down North Koreans who are viewing the same forbidden media that nearly all North Koreans do who have access to MicroSD cards and devices that can display the contents. Apparently, the new Unified Command 82 has received a license to kill, or do whatever it has to do to battle the threat posed by BTS music videos and monster TV hits like Squid Game. Who knew that Netflix would be declared a capital crime and an Enemy of the State in some countries?




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close