Tuesday, May 8, 2012

North Korea Continues Efforts to Bring Down Passenger Plane

North Korea continued its jamming of GPS signals over South Korea and the West Sea for a tenth successive day today, disrupting shipping and more than 500 commercial flights, but once again failed to cause a single plane to crash as aircrews used an alternative navigation scheme believed to involve looking out of the cockpit window. Taxi drivers also reported difficulties navigating Seoul's busy streets according to the Ministry of Tourism, which is why foreign tourists may notice themselves passing the same places twice as the meter marks off another 10,000 won.

Jamming attacks first began in August 2010 and the government said it had found a solution to the problem, but it was later discovered that this was to give North Korea more aid and ask them politely not to do it again for a while if it wasn't too much trouble. When the attacks resumed in March 2011, the government recommended that people wrap their GPS antennae in tin foil to stop the interference. A related scheme months earlier which saw the heads of Hankyoreh journalists wrapped in tin foil to stop them receiving subliminal messages from Pyongyang is said to have worked, but the antennae plan had to be dropped when Apple claimed the design infringed one of its patents, although the company refused to discuss which.

To avoid being sued by Apple, the government instead directed some antennae on the top of buildings to be moved lower down or tilted towards the ground, but one side-effect of this was that they stopped working. It became important to attach GPS antennae to buildings in recent years after some started moving due to a series of localized earthquakes and definitely not bad construction.

The latest round of GPS jamming attacks have prompted the American and Korean governments to say that all options are on the table regarding continued North Korean belligerence. One of the options is believed to be doing nothing, but one official said the government definitely ought to probably do something about the attacks maybe, next time if not this, and if an aircraft crashed Seoul may even retaliate with a strongly worded letter.

The source of the attacks is believed to be the Kaesong region of North Korea, where South Korea has built a high-technology industrial zone for North Korea as part of a previous administration's Moonshine policy, so-called because it looked like a good idea under the influence of alcohol.

The South Korean government has announced that after a careful review, it has concluded that the North's action are a violation of international law, and they warned Pyongyang to call their attorney, although Seoul offered to provide them with one if they couldn't afford their own.

Related Links
N.K. continues GPS jamming
N.Korea Tries to Jam S.Korean Air Traffic
122 ships affected by suspected N. Korean GPS jamming
Seoul's Makeshift Answer to N.Korean Jamming Attacks
N.Korea Jammed U.S. Reconnaissance Plane GPS
NK Developing Long-Range GPS Jammer
Seoul: N.Korea GPS Disruptions Violate Int'l Law
Allies looking at 'all options' against NK provocations
Private think tanks to take lead in fighting GPS jamming
Foreign aviation officials to get GPS training in Korea
Beyond good and evil of Sunshine Policy
Business is booming at Kaesong complex
Predatory taxi drivers

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