Google executive chairman plans visit to North Korea
BY Associated Press
Thursday, January 03, 2013
1/03/13 at 2:42 AM
Google's executive chairman is preparing to travel to one of the last frontiers of cyberspace: North Korea.
Eric Schmidt will be going on a private, humanitarian mission led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson that could take place as early as this month, sources told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
North Korea may have the most restrictive Internet policy on the planet. But it is in the midst of what leader Kim Jong Un called a modern-day "industrial revolution" in a New Year's Day speech. He is pushing science and technology as a path to economic development for the impoverished country, aiming for computers in every school and digitized machinery in every factory.
But giving citizens open access to the Internet has not been part of the regime's strategy. While some North Koreans can access a domestic Intranet service, very few have clearance to freely surf the World Wide Web.
Schmidt was CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc. for a decade until 2011. His message has been that the Internet and mobile technology have the power to lift people out of poverty and political oppression.
"The spread of mobile phones and new forms of connectivity offer us the prospect of connecting everybody," he said last May. "When that happens, connectivity can revolutionize every aspect of society: politically, socially, economically."
Google Inc. executive Eric Schmidt: "Connectivity can revolutionize every aspect of society: politically, socially, economically."