Kim gets gamed, because the Internet never forgets

21 December 2013 by Steve Blum
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Supreme Leader, we have immutable faith in your shining mastery of Pong.

In Rudyard Kipling’s novel Kim, a teenage boy is trained to be a spy with a memory game. He’s given a brief glimpse of some items, and then has to describe what he remembers. Over the course of many rounds, his powers of observation and memory grow. It’s called Kim’s game.

But as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is finding out, the Internet gives everyone a Kiplingesque memory. Following its recent bloody purge, the North Korean government tried to erase nearly all of its past from the Internet by deleting its online propaganda archives.

To no avail. Thanks to Frank Feinstein, a pseudonymous New Zealander, the stories had already been downloaded and saved on his KCNA Watch website. He thinks that North Korea’s leadership is trying to stay as far out of the line of sight of search engines as possible…

Feinstein said he could not tell at the moment if the mass-deletion was permanent, but he added: “North Korean websites have recently explored ways to reduce the permanence of their electronic footprint with Google. This, when viewed with other data, suggest it is likely these changes are permanent.”

Feinstein started out scraping and archiving material from North Korea’s official news agency, and soon landed a deal with the NK News website to republish the material to its large and established audience.

It’s futile to try to cover up your virtual tracks, as anyone who’s posted a beer-soaked picture of himself on Facebook knows and the world’s last totalitarian regime is learning. All it takes is one diligent geek in a free land to defeat online oppression.