If a visitor was so willing, is there any possible way of sneaking in any kind of communication equipment that the people there could possibly use? Perhaps a solar powered raspberry pi with wifi and satellite hookup? USB drives full of information that could be dropped off on random doorsteps when nobody was looking? Well trained carrier pigeons to relay messages to the south? Did you see any possible opening for any kind of hacktivist way of helping these people gain access to information?
Easily. Most in our groups brought some sort of newspapers into the country, they were never confiscated. Our guides would actually ask if it was on to read the newspapers, and our guides knew about what's going on outside of their country. They would know about Assange, Occupy Wall street, Obama etc.
I brought an iPad, my laptop and my iPhone - they only took my iPhone when i entered the country - or, actually, they forgot, and I gave it up later on the trip, as I didn't want to get in troubles when leaving.
I could easily have left many devices there, with information etc.. In terms of communication devices, not so sure. There's absolutely no wifi in the country, and satellite devices are large, afaik.
I was war driving with my iPad in Pyongyang, searching for wifi.. NO wifi was detected, at all. Pretty interesting.
I lend my iPad to one of the guides for a week - the guide saw Breaking Bad Season 1 and heard Beatles and U2 :-) and even brought it home at night.
also, guess why they forgot to take my iPhone when I entrered the country? Because the customs guys were busy playing Angry Birds on my iPad, and looking through my photos.. zooming in on the photos of the pretty girls that I had in my Photostream
Cheap smartphones are already flooding through the porous Chinese border, along with other blackmarket goods. South Korean soap operas are quite popular. The "military first" policy replaced "two pillars" (military and economic), because North Koreans realised how much worse their economy is. The problem is, North Koreans just don't care. They are told that they are a special, pure race. They actually believe they are better off than South Koreans, because they aren't being corrupted by foreign influences.
Give them 5 years to think about it, and might change their minds.
> North Koreans just don't care... They actually believe they are better off than South Koreans,
i'm dubious that's what they _actually_ believe in their hearts. They might have to say so on the outside, because saying otherwise is dangerous (you never know who is listening, or who might dob you in).
This lecture http://www.booktv.org/Watch/11315/The+Cleanest+Race+How+Nort... (by the author of The Cleanest Race) suggests otherwise. His evidence may be flawed though. He bases his argument on the number of North Koreans who return. They might be spies, have families held hostage, are unable to adjust, face discrimination from South Koreans, or simply have thought that life would be as glamorous as a South Korean soap opera. Perhaps a few North Korean operatives are posing as defectors, tracking down real defectors, and making threats - I doubt the average defector would want to go the the authorities. Plus, I bet many defectors had an above-average life in North Korea, as they had the resources to escape. If they were promised a promotion at home, they might think it's better than cleaning toilets in South Korea (facing possible violence from North Korean operatives). I'm just guessing, but so is everyone else.
As for what the average North Korean actually thinks, it's hardly relevant. They act like they believe the fascist propaganda.
I too visited the DPRK recently. Did you go with Koryo?
The weirdest thing was that our guide was very happy to discuss "taboo" questions. She asked us about our electoral system, and after we visited the DMZ inquired as to what our media said about North Korea. Initially we were elated that we had a "receptive" tour guide, but by the end we began to suspect that it was all a ruse to put us at ease. Did your guides do this?
Thanks for posting this. I liked the part about the newspaper:
"We were given strict instructions that we couldn't fold the newspaper AT ALL - as it had photos of Kim, and that it would be an insult to fold anything containing that.."