Skip to navigation
Latest News

Eric Schmidt: North Koreans can't access web "without somebody watching them"

Eric Schmidt

By Dave Stevenson

Posted on 10 Jan 2013 at 12:15

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt has arrived in Beijing following a controversial visit to North Korea.

Schmidt said he made "very clear" his belief that North Korea’s economic underdevelopment was unlikely to improve unless the government begins to relax controls on public internet access. "The government has to do something," said Schmidt. "They have to make it possible for people to use the internet."

He claimed it appeared North Koreans couldn't access the world wide web without "somebody else watching them". Most North Koreans have no access to a computer and those who do are restricted to a countrywide intranet rather than the full web.

"As the world becomes increasingly connected, [North Korea’s] decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world," said Schmidt. "It will make it harder for them to catch up economically."

He also described how North Korea had a functioning 3G network that nonetheless didn’t allow a connection to the internet. It would be "very easy" for the North Korean government to enable the mobile web, he said.

"Once the internet starts, citizens in a country can certainly build on top of it, but the government has to do something," he said.

Schmidt travelled with a fellow Googler, head of Google Ideas Jared Cohen, as well as his daughter and former governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson. The trip was not official company travel, according to Google, and was criticised as "unhelpful" by the US government.

Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
User comments

somebody watching?

What, some one like Google, perhaps?

By greemble on 10 Jan 2013

Leave a comment

You need to Login or Register to comment.



Most Commented News Stories
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest ReviewsSubscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Real World Computing


Sponsored Links

Your email:

Your password:

remember me


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.