Kwangmyong (Chosŏn'gŭl: 광명; Hancha: 光明; English: Bright) is a North Korean "walled garden" national intranet opened in 2000. It may be accessed by web browsers, incorporates email services, news groups, and an internal web search engine.
In North Korea, only a small number of government-authorized persons are allowed to use the global Internet, so Kwangmyong is the only computer network available to common people. It is a free service for public use.
Kwangmyong is designed to be used only within North Korea, and referred to as an "intranet". Kwangmyong prevents domestic users within North Korea to access foreign content or information and prevents the leakages of classified data. It functions as a form of information censorship, preventing undesirable information from being accessed. Thus, sensitive topics and information are unlikely to surface on Kwangmyong due to the absence of a link to the outside world and the censorship that occurs. Kwangmyong is maintained by government-related entities. However, large amounts of material from the Internet end up on Kwangmyong, following processing.
Kwangmyong is only accessible from within North Korea. Access is available within major cities and counties, as well as universities and major industrial and commercial organizations.
- Information such as political, economic, scientific, cultural and other fields of knowledge.
- Domestic news service.
- A mailing service similar in function to that of e-mail.
- A social network.
- University scientific research areas of academic and scholarly works devoted to the network through web-based academic exchanges and information sharing.
- Websites of various government agencies, provincial government, cultural institutions, universities, as well as some of the major industrial and commercial organizations.
- Censored websites from the Internet (mostly science-related). Upon a request, whole websites may be downloaded from the Internet, undergo review and censorship, and be published on Kwangmyong.
- An electronic library (Chosongul: 전자도서열람).
- Some e-commerce by commercial organizations.
As of 2014, Kwangmyong was estimated to have between 1,000 and 5,500 websites.
Kwangmyong has 24-hour unlimited access by dial-up telephone line.
The network uses Korean as the main interface language, and is maintained by more than 2,000 language experts, according to official information, in expanding services in Russian, Chinese, English, French, German and Japanese, in which there is a real-time, online translation service for the seven languages, with a database containing over 2,000,000 words, to assist users who may not be familiar with foreign languages.
Given that there is no direct connection to the outside Internet, unwanted information cannot enter the network. Information is filtered and processed by government agencies before being hosted on the North Korean Intranet. Cuba and Myanmar also use a similar network system that is separated from the rest of the Internet, and Iran has been reported as having future plans to implement such a network.
- Andrew Jacobs (January 10, 2013). "Google Chief Urges North Korea to Embrace Web". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- Caitlin Dewey (13 March 2013). "A rare glimpse of North Korea's version of Facebook". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Jeff Baron (11 March 2013). "Book Review: A CAPITALIST IN NORTH KOREA". 38 North. School of Advanced International Studies. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- Eric Talmadge (23 February 2014). "North Korea: Where the Internet has just 5,500 sites". Toronto Star. Associated Press. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Martyn Williams (30 July 2013). "Android tablet gives rare glimpse at North Korean tech". IT World. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Christopher Rhoads and Farnaz Fassihi, May 28, 2011, Iran Vows to Unplug Internet, Wall Street Journal
- BBC: Sampling North Korea's version of the internet - includes video
- North Korea and the Internet - Economist
- Kwangmyong computer network
- Digital Divide on the Korean Peninsula
- Hermit Surfers of P'yongyang，CIA