Schmidt Happens

North Korean Students Pretend They’re Allowed to Use Google to Impress Eric Schmidt

Sadly, most North Koreans have never even used the web.
(Photo: Asian Correspondent)

(Photo: Asian Correspondent)

Google chairman Eric Schmidt continued his romp around North Korea today, escorted by the polka-dot-loving Bill Richardson. CBS News reports that the duo visited Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, which is outfitted with a computer lab connected to the country’s intranet, a closed system where users can receive only state-sponsored news. Some students, however, have applied for and won the privilege to connect to the web for research purposes.

One student decided to show Mr. Schmidt that even citizens of totalitarian regimes use Google (on an HP computer marked as a gift from Kim Jong Il, natch). When Mr. Schmidt asked the student how he searches for information online, the student had the presence of mind to pull up Google. Can you imagine if he’d pulled up Bing? Embarrassing.

Of course, the vast majority of North Korean citizens don’t have access to the web, and most have never used it. Even students using the web are heavily monitored, and instructed to browse it only for research purposes.

Soooooo anyone want to complain some more about how New York doesn’t have Google Fiber yet?

Update: There’s video!

For those wondering what the mystery garment around Mr. Richardson’s neck is, an extensive study conducted by Ladybeat has revealed that it’s an unnecessary cravat and/or a poorly-tied scarf.

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