Eric Schmidt and Bill Richardson’s Pyongyang adventure continues to pay dividends.
First, former U.N. ambassador Richardson’s shrewd nuclear diplomacy resulted in . . . North Korea testing an atomic weapon. Now, Google chief Schmidt’s encouragement of a “free and open Internet” in North Korea has resulted in Pyongyang finally allowing mobile Internet access . . . for foreigners.
North Korean cell phone users (about a million in a country of 24 million) will still be banned from accessing the Internet. Moreover, there’s a case to be made that this shift in policy is actually a way for the North Korean regime to increase its surveillance of foreign visitors by monitoring their Internet use (and more precisely tracking their whereabouts). But Schmidt can take heart: thanks to his indefatigable work, those tourists morally obtuse enough to vacation in a country where hundreds of thousands are imprisoned in gulags will be now be able to access their Twitter feeds.