Kim Jong Il and Rupert Murdoch. Maybe it's a marriage made in heaven, unless you're a software developer looking for a job here in the United States. Bloomberg reports that Murdoch's News Corp hires North Korean developers to create mobile phone games.
Programmers from North Korea’s General Federation of Science and Technology developed a 2007 mobile-phone bowling game based on the 1998 film, as well as “Men in Black: Alien Assault,” according to two executives at Nosotek Joint Venture Company, which markets software from North Korea for foreign clients. Both games were published by a unit of News Corp., the New York-based media company, a spokeswoman for the unit said.
My first thought: Is that even legal? Well, yes, it is.
They represent a growing software industry championed by Kim that is boosting the economy of one of the poorest countries in the world and raising the technological skills of workers. Contracting with North Korean companies is legal under United Nations sanctions unless they are linked to the arms trade.
The humanitarian part of me argues that with the rampant poverty in North Korea, I shouldn't begrudge them getting income for game development. But the suspicious side speaks louder, reminding me that no family living in poverty will see any of that News Corp funding, because Kim is a brutal and greedy dictator. Lest we forget, it was North Korean hackers who attacked government and media networks in 2009, likely with the blessing of that same dictator.
When you're Rupert Murdoch, the only god is money. This is why I so detest what he has done to journalism in this country. He is not an idealogue; he's a money-grubbing capitalist with a dangerous hunger for power. Adrift in the libertarian principles of no accountability and maximum selfishness, Murdoch has absolutely no problem hiring and funding people who are governed by a regime that has absolutely no problem oppressing and starving its people, threatening its neighbors with nuclear arms, and using technology for evil ends.
“Any sort of transaction that gives cash to the North Korean government works against U.S. policy,” said James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based policy group. “The coding skills people would acquire in outsourcing activities could easily strengthen cyberwar cyber-espionage capabilities. Mobile devices are the new frontier of hacking.”
For all the denials from Nosotek, the front company owned by News Corp, about how harmless these contracts are you'd think they'd simply deal directly over it, Instead, Murdoch outsources contracts to countries controlled by dictators and despots via a network of front companies, while blinking innocently and nodding in agreement with this:
Foreign companies that are reluctant to do business in North Korea need to understand that investment there can help the country modernize and reduce its isolation, Tjia said.
“Most companies are still reluctant, which we think is unfortunate,” he said. North Koreans “need investment, like China in the 1970s.”
In other words, let's keep Americans unemployed, underemployed and underpaid while "investing" in dictatorships. I wonder what Glenn Beck would say about that. Where's all the haters when it comes to this kind of behavior?