North Korea Checking Visitors’ Browser History

North Korea seems to be a constant feature in the news for its worrying nuclear program and its questionable commitment to human rights.

Now the isolated East Asian nation has hit the headlines for a different reason: it has started checking the browser history of every visitor to the secretive nation, writes Bryan Lufkin for Gizmodo.

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Tourism drive aims to attract more visitors to North Korea

While work continues on expanding its nuclear test site, North Korea is also implementing a drive to attract more foreign tourists. However the fact that security inspections take a magnifying glass to your internet habits may put some people off.

The U.S. State Department recently warned citizens not to travel to North Korea under any circumstances, but Pyongyang wants to earn more tourist dollars. Authorities recently completed work on a new airport in Pyongyang, but incredible security procedures have been implemented.

According to the travel warning customs officials will inspect your devices, looking through “Internet browsing histories and cookies on travelers’ computers and other electronic devices.”

Devices scanned for banned content on arrival

Officials are on the lookout for “banned content, including pornography or material critical of the DPRK government. Possession of any media, either printed or electronic, criticizing the DPRK government is a criminal act. Bringing pornography into the country is also a criminal act.”

A recent report by The Associated Press reveals that pro-South Korea materials and Bibles are also banned. The State Department says that anyone caught committing a crime could face “years of detention in hard labor camps or death.”

The AP reminds us that detentions and arrests are quite rare, but it is still a worrying prospect for potential visitors. Many travelers are attracted by the risk of visiting North Korea and the chance to see how people live in such a secretive country.

One part of the attraction is that numbers of foreign visitors are low, and the drive to increase tourism may spoil the feeling of exclusivity. Other international airlines may soon start to run flights to Pyongyang, and we will have to see what happens to their passengers’ data.