Backbytes: Top Gear and porn – what North Korean internet users are downloading

By Backbytes
15 Aug 2014 View Comments
kim-jong-un-north-korean-leader

Anything that annoys Guardian readers is A-OK with us. So we look forward to reading the splenetic whine on The Guardian's 'Comment is Free' when the right-on hacks on Britain's least-profitable rag find out how popular Jeremy Clarkson - and Top Gear - is in North Korea.

According to Scan Eye, which monitors torrents to find out who's stealing what, the few North Koreans in Pyongyang with internet access simply can't get enough of Top Gear - arguably Britain's biggest cultural export of the modern era.

Further reading

More bizarrely, perhaps, the Martin Lewis Money Show and Britain's Biggest Hoarders also enjoy a circulation in the world's biggest prison camp. Less surprisingly, perhaps, porn would also appear to be jolly popular, as would computer games including Far Cry 3 and Tiny Troopers (good choice).

Intriguingly, all of the downloads were traced to the Ryugyong-dong district in northeast Pyongyang, an administrative centre housing the Pyongyang International Communications Centre, where Koryolink, North Korea's mobile phone network provider, is based.

It may not, therefore, be entirely representative of the tastes and whims of the North Korean people as a whole, but anything that winds up Guardian readers is good with us.

Postscript: Some observers have boringly questioned whether the data from Scan Eye is real. Although it is possible to spoof IP addresses, surely only a nutter (or an employee in the marketing department of Scan Eye) would choose Pyongyang?

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