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N.Koreans have no ounce of freedom: Undercover journalist



North Korean
North korea leaders

Washington, Aug 13  North Koreans are raised to be soldiers and “have no ounce of freedom”, according to a journalist who lived undercover in Pyongyang.

“Their lives were completely mapped out according to the great leader,” Suki Kim, who spent six months undercover in North Korea in 2011, told CNN on Saturday.

“Any information from outside is forbidden and not shown to them in any way. It’s really a system of absolute control.”

Kim, author of “Without You There Is No Us”, posed as a missionary and a teacher at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. She taught English to the sons of North Korea’s ruling class, children expected to be the regime’s future leaders.

She described the complex psychology of people there “being really lovely and absolutely human” but living in a bubble, emotionally and intellectually isolated.

“To try to understand North Korea, it’s basically a cult of the great leader,” Kim told CNN.

“It’s a military dictatorship with one of the largest armies in the world and also it’s a place where communication is blocked.

“If you block the rest of the world from your country entirely, then how can you actually have information to teach people that other things exist?”

Kim said computer majors in the university did not even know about the existence of the internet. Her students had to attend weekly meetings to report on each other, “so there’s a surveillance system”.

“There’s a building that exists for studying the great leader. You go and study the great leader and you also guard that building. You clean that building,” she said.

According to Kim, citizens have access to only one newspaper and one television station dedicated to teaching them about their leader.

“They (the citizens) don’t travel inside or outside of their country, giving them little time or access to think about anything else but their leader and therefore conditioning them.

“The country is nothing like we’ve seen before. It’s a nuclear power that is also absolutely enslaving its citizens for the sake of this really one-man nation.”

“It’s the saddest place in the world,” Kim added.



Israel opens probe into Facebook after data scandal



Cambridge Analytica data scandal

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities said Thursday (Mar 22) they had launched an investigation into Facebook’s activities following a scandal over the hijacking of personal data from millions of the social network’s users.

Israel’s privacy protection agency “informed Facebook” of the probe after revelations over data transfers from the tech giant to consultant Cambridge Analytica, the agency said.

It said it was also looking into “the possibility of other infringements of the privacy law regarding Israelis”, it said in a statement released by the justice ministry.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper has reported that Israeli hackers offered material to Cambridge Analytica.

But an Israeli justice ministry spokeswoman said the probe did not involve hackers, focusing rather on whether Israeli users’ rights were violated.

Under Israel’s privacy law, personal data may only be used with consent and for the purpose for which it was handed over, the privacy protection agency said.


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Middle East

Loud explosion heard outside busy hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu

Explosion hits busy road outside popular hotel in central Mogadishu.



Somalia Car Bombing

MOGADISHU: 16 people killed and 20 injured in a bomb attack at the entrance of  Wehliye hotel in Mogadishu. Most of the casualties are auto rickshaw drivers and passengers, according to witnesses.

The death toll is expected to rise.

The attacked was claimed by al-Shabab, Reuters news agency reported, citing the armed group’s military operation spokesman.

Al-Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s internationally recognised government, is frequently carrying out attacks in and around the capital.

More to follow.

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Twitter’s chief information security officer quits




San Francisco, March 22: As tech companies reel under mounting pressure to prevent their platforms from data breach and fake news, Twitter’s Chief Information Security Officer Michael Coates has decided to quit.

In a tweet on Thursday, Coates who joined Twitter in 2015 announced his departure from the micro-blogging website.

“Twitter has been an amazing ride, but as I mentioned internally a few weeks back, my time is coming to an end. I’m confident to leave the program with an amazing security team,” Coates tweeted.

According to The Verge, Coates’ interim replacement is Joseph Camilleri, a senior manager for information security and risk.

Coates’ departure comes soon after reports surfaced that Facebook’s Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos is planning to leave the company by August.

Facebook is facing the heat after Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting company, was accused of harvesting data of up to 50 million Facebook users without permission and using the data to help politicians, including US President Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign.

Meanwhile, Michael Zalewski, Director of Information Security Engineering at Google, has also announced his departure from that company after 11 years.


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