North Korea recently purchased phone-tapping devices from abroad to better monitor mobile phone calls, Daily NK has learned. 

“The government purchased 15 phone-tapping devices from a German-Chinese joint venture to monitor mobile phone calls in the country,” a North Hamgyong Province-based source told Daily NK on Friday. “The devices are currently being installed.” 

The devices were brought into the country in late May, according to the source. 

The authorities reportedly ordered three devices to be set up in Pyongyang, while the rest will be installed in other provinces and special cities by the end of June. 

Once the devices are up and running, North Korea will be able to listen to any mobile phone conversation through the Koryolink (191 numbers) and Kang Song NET (195 numbers) mobile services, the country’s two major service providers.

“The first targets for government surveillance will be those living in border regions, including the family members of defectors and illegal border crossers,” the source told Daily NK. “The surveillance will later be expanded to other areas of the country.” 

Notably, North Korean authorities have instructed local post offices – where people go to subscribe to mobile phone services – to inform mobile phone subscribers that the government has the ability to listen in on all mobile phone calls. 

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Kim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK's freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.