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N. Korea toughening crackdown on outside information: source

All Headlines 10:11 April 01, 2011

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has begun to demand that every personal and electronic storage device in the country be registered in an apparent effort to crack down on outside information that may contain sensitive news about Middle East uprisings, a government source said Friday.

The measure took effect early this year and has led to the confiscation of a considerable number of electronic devices, the South Korean source said, declining to be identified.

The communist country is also allowing its notoriously harsh policing organ to have the right to approve the use of a mobile phone by an individual, the source said.

More than 300,000 mobile phones are believed to be in use in North Korea, which strictly controls the flow of information in and out of its territory in an effort to keep its 24 million people brainwashed and make them conform to the regime.

No privately-owned mobile phones are allowed to be brought into North Korea, the source said, while the Internet remains available to only an exclusive group of ruling elites, including leader Kim Jong-il and his family.

Analysts say there is little possibility for now that an uprising like those that have overthrown dictatorships in Egypt and Libya can take place in North Korea because the civil society there is under too much suppression and remains nearly nonexistent.

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