Friday, November 02, 2007

Blogspot Blocked in Korea?

Loose Lips Sink Ships
Blogspot Censored in Korea?
(Image from Wikipedia)

Yesterday around noon, I lost access to my blog, and after some hours of this inability to log on to Gypsy Scholar, I contacted Kevin 'Gargantua' Kim over at Big Hominid's Hairy Chasms and asked him about his Blogspot website:
Are you having problems accessing Blogspot this afternoon (November 1)?
Kevin informed me of his worst suspicions:
Yes, I am. Jenn of I Got 2 Shoes emailed w/the same question, so I'm guessing we're not alone. I'll ask you what I asked her: ROK govt blockage? Scheduled maintenance? Something else?
The Korean government has at times blocked entire domains to restrict access to websites that it would prefer that Koreans not visit. A few years back, when the unfortunate Kim Sun-il was beheaded in Iraq by the Islamist group Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'l Jihad ("Group of Monotheism and Jihad"), the Korean government blocked many internet domains to shut off access to online videos of the beheading. But there's nothing like that currently going on that would motivate the government to block Blogspot, so I replied to Kevin's message:
Blockage is always my first paranoid thought, but why today?
Kevin hasn't yet replied to that, but he helpfully supplied a means of circumventing the blockage:
We're like a sad bunch of junkies, deprived of our drugs and jonesing. Heh.

OK, I went through, which is a proxy server, and WAS able to see my blog, which unfortunately leads me to believe that we Blogspotters are being blocked for some reason or other. That's only a hypothesis, but it's a strong one. The blogs are still online and still visible, but only if you take the back road.

To see your blog, visit scroll down to the URL window, and type your blog's URL starting with "http."

More info as it comes...
I'm still waiting for that 'info' and still can't imagine any plausible reason that the government might be blocking internet domains . . . though I speculated about implausible ones in my reply to Kevin's assistance:
Thanks. That helps. I just can't figure out why the Korean government would be blocking domains? Maybe just to remind us that it can? Or Roh wants to thwart any discussion of how the US helped a North Korean ship? Seems unlikely...
That story, by the way, is accessible at CNN online and would be worth blogging about if I weren't so distracted. The basic story is that Somali pirates chose the wrong Korean ship to hijack. They chose a North Korean ship, but the Norks fought back, assisted in some way by the American Navy, which is also providing medical treatment to three North Koreans wounded by the Somali pirates. Those pirates are in worse shape, however, with two dead and the remaining ones now in the hands of the North Korean crew. I wouldn't want to be one of those pirates about now, who must be currently experiencing just how radically the tables can turn...

By the way, I was merely jesting in suggesting that the South Korean government might be trying to thwart discussion of this incident. The current Roh administration would be perfectly happy to see an improvement in relations between the United States and North Korea and would not be trying to block internet domains to prevent discussion of how the American Navy assisted a North Korean ship.

I remain baffled by the blockage but not blocked by bafflement, which I've successfully circumvented, as you can clearly see -- unless you're living in South Korea and don't know about and thus aren't reading these words at all...

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