back to article Eric Schmidt heading on mystery mission to North Korea

Google chairman Eric Schmidt is heading to the least internet-friendly country on the planet, according to AP, with a forthcoming trip to North Korea on his schedule. Schmidt will be accompanying former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, who's a repeat visitor to the self-styled "Best Korea". The meeting is a private affair …


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  1. Donald Becker

    He just wants to meet "The sexiest man alive"

    I hope they wear warm clothes, because it's time for the annual treaty. The one that provides a half million tons of fuel oil in exchange for a nuke treaty that will be broken in the spring. I'm pretty sure that the newspapers have a form story where they just update the year and fill in the details of saber rattling over the past few months.

    1. LarsG

      Kim Jong-un just wants to be able to search for online porn, what better way to connect.......

      1. Soruk

        How long before word starts to leak that Psy's recent track is a shameless rip-off of the Nork smash hit "Pyongyang Style"?

  2. Ian Michael Gumby

    Why Hello Hans Blix

    Ok, is it just me, or does Eric Schmidt's face remind you of the puppet faces used in Team America?

    Now available uncensored, unrated with even more gratuitous puppet sex. ;-)

    1. Dan 10

      Re: Why Hello Hans Blix

      "Hans Brix you f***ing w@nker!"

      My mate nearly did himself an injury laughing at *that* sex scene.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Like seeks like

    Remember schmidt is the guy who said if you don't want people spying on you maybe you shouldn't be doing whatever it is they find interesting (paraphrased but the gist is correct). Why the surprise that he finds common ground with a repressive stalinist state ? He probably just wants to check out what the world will look like once Google completes their takeover ..

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Like seeks like

      Given that Google makes its money via a huge middle-class buying gobs of products advertised on their services, and given that Google also makes money via expensive gadgets, and given that Google's entire reason for existence is internet-based, I find it odd that you would accuse them of desiring a situation where people aren't allowed to connect to the internet, where have no money to buy things, where public and private companies *making things* are illegal or economically impossible, and where people have essentially no electronics or means to acquire them and no ability to communicate with one another whatsoever.

      I mean, if you want to accuse Google of acting in its own interest, fine, but suggesting that they'd enjoy creating a situation which would remove every element of their ability to generate money and wield influence seems like... a bit of a reach.

      I'm just saying.

  4. Turtle

    At home...

    "Schmidt is one of the world's experts on information flows"

    Schmidt is one of the world's leading experts on iIP theft, patent and copyright infringement, appropriation of the labor of others, expropriation of creative workers and curtailing and violating their rights, enabling human trafficking, counterfeit and illegal drug sales, forming and spending money on political lobbying and funding front groups to advance his political agenda... This creep ought to feel right at home in North Korea.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: At home...

      You know, I've heard Google accused of a lot of things (eg, the above poster's claim that Google wants to destroy itself by cutting off its own oxygen supply) but drug running and slave trading are new ones.

      Even if your laundry list of sins were accurate, I'm not sure how it follows that he'd feel at home in NK, though - the country has nobody who makes any IP for the government to appropriate, has nobody to *consume* any IP the government might appropriate from anyone else, has no need of slave labor because it hasn't really got an economy anyway, has no reason to be involved with drugs as people who are eating bark to survive don't tend to worry about finding cheap cocaine and xanax, and, last but not least, political lobbying and front groups are entirely irrelevant in NK, where there's no private sector to do any lobbying to begin with.

      In short... huh?

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        @David W. Re: At home...

        Not everyone can be a well grounded and lucid writer all of the time. If that were so, then the nickname 'commentard' wouldn't be appropriate.

        However to the OP's point...

        "You know, I've heard Google accused of a lot of things (eg, the above poster's claim that Google wants to destroy itself by cutting off its own oxygen supply) but drug running and slave trading are new ones."

        Granted I never heard about the slave trade tie in .... however...

        Google paid a hefty fine (relatively speaking) for knowingly selling Google Ads to the Illegal Pharmacy websites and marketeers. This isn't fiction but fact...

        Google was caught red handed with its hand in the proverbial cookie jar on this one.

        Those were the first 3 I found when I googled the words "Google, Adwords, Pharmacy, Fine"

        If you change Pharmacy and Fine to Slavery, you see the following:

        While this is less dubious, I think that the OP of this thread, while not the best rant, does have some credible evidence to his point. Granted, I think the slavery thing is a bit of a stretch. There is way too much porn on the 'net to blame Google. Sorry, but I think the industry is too large to be excused over abusive molesting father figures, coaches and priests to explain it all. But then again, I'm no expert and I'm sure someone will find something on the 'net to prove me wrong. ;-)

  5. Eddy Ito


    Schmidt is going to give a lesson on internet privacy or get one?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Clearly

      Whatever it is, it'll be Gangnam style..

  6. Rampant Spaniel

    So hard to resist making a joke about pilots and apple maps :-)

    NK does this dance all the time. A show of 'power' then talks, then they get sent fertiliser in return for promising to be good. Then they start all over. It remains to be seen if this will result in NK actually opening up and improving the lives of its citizens.

  7. Ole Juul

    Why all the scepticism?

    Obviously some things aren't going to change and the situation as it stands is obvious. So what? If North Korea wants to move ahead with more internet adoption, regardless of under what terms, then talking with Schmidt is sensible. However, I doubt that Google expects to get a lot out of this just yet. It is nevertheless a good idea for any business to communicate with as wide a user base as possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why all the scepticism?

      Point is, the regime there needs to start being nice of its own accord. Not be influenced by big monopolist American companies who are only interested in making money not politics and human rights.

      Where is he going next, Iran?

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: Why all the scepticism?

        Point is, the regime there needs to start being nice of its own accord.

        As I suggested, that's an obvious situation. I just don't think that monopolist American companies are going to make any political inroads there at this point in time. Perhaps you think differently about that. Do you really think that Google hopes to effect North Korean politics? I think this has more to do with US politics since Bill Richardson appears well positioned to deal with relations here. I have no idea what his real agenda is, but suspect that it is the more significant part of this story.

  8. LDS Silver badge

    Schmidt is not there to teach or explain, is there to learn

    Schmidt is there to learn how to control better Google users -. where but in a paranoid country you can learn how to extract how much data as you can from your citizen or users? I'm sure Google will soon lobby for rules like the last Chinese one, forcing users to register with their real name and tie nicknames to that. Think about the value of such rule for people who mine data for marketing purposes... no longer multiple accounts skewing the data - you can trace online behaviours fully....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of them collects information...

    on everything you do for it's internal use and has a blatant disregard for privacy.

    The other is the leader of North Korea.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "A creepy pervassive surveillance culture requiring absolute loyalty to the leader."

    Which one is saying it about the other?

  11. Dire Criti¢

    I don't suppose that it could just be because...

    ...he wants an unusual holiday?

    I can highly recommend Hedonism III if N. Korea fails to thrill.

  12. Schultz
    Thumb Up

    Maybe North Korea is opening up?

    Apparently, Kim Yong Un went to school in Switzerland, hence he would have been exposed to a very modern, liberal and rich society. I would expect such an education to leave quite an impression and maybe a wish to modernize North Korea.

    The timing looks about right, he would have used about one year in power to ensure he won't be overthrown and now he starts setting a new direction with an unexpected new-years speech. A meeting between the Great Leader and a Master of the Intertubes would be a logical starting point to explore some degree of open communication.

    Let's hope ...

    1. Ian Michael Gumby
      Big Brother

      Re: Maybe North Korea is opening up?


      Call me a sceptic.

      Suppose Kim Yong Un wants to upgrade the country from starving peasants to a bit more modern....

      His nuke program, missile program, etc ... have made it impossible for him to legally import anything more powerful than an iPhone. (Ok, so even these phones have more than enough CPU capacity to launch a rocket and land a man on the moon.)

      If he is planning on opening up N. Korea, its going to take years before the West will allow any real tech.

      The first thing if any... they will allow farm aid and some civil engineering projects to move forward. Of course it would be interesting because one would have to wonder what China will say or do if the US or its allies get involved.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe North Korea is opening up?

      And what happened with Gorbachev's reforms in the USSR? It'll be the end of him.

    3. mhenriday

      Re: Maybe North Korea is opening up?

      Amazing - a serious comment on a topic dealing with North Korea and no downvotes from people who've never been there and who know no more about the country than what they are told in their local rag or by Faux News ! What's the Reg coming to ?!! In any event, kudos, Schultz - and I hope that the downvotes I hereby provoke from the commentariat are addressed to this comment rather than yours !...


  13. Avatar of They

    Am I the only one thinking?

    Please will they keep him.

  14. envmod

    aaaaw, look at his little chubby face

    I think he's alright you know...I can see him opening up N. Korea starting to repair international relationships. Kim Jong-Un for Nobel Peace Price 2015?

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Is it too soon to be thinking of regime change.

    N. Korea or Google.

    Either looks good to me.

  16. Allison Park

    is he still under the do no evil pledge?

    reminds me on the post office pledge every time they dont show up in the snow.

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