A North Korean agent who was caught googling Kim Jong-un may face being shot by a firing squad.
Several agents from the government's top secret Bureau 10 body were caught illegally accessing uncensored internet content.
The body is tasked with tracking the communications of the county's 26 million citizens.
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According to a source inside Pyongyang, the agents were ratted out by a colleague in the Ministry of State Security, who immediately seized their electronics and investigate their online activity.
Three of the agents were sacked from their jobs on the spot, but for the agent who unwisely searched the North Korean dictator, he may now face the death penalty, according to a source which spoke to Daily NK, a publication based in South Korea.
The source said: “Bureau 10 departments are given access to the internet, which had allowed agents to turn off their search word recording devices and search the web as much as they like without issue.
“But after a new bureau chief took over, even these previously routine issues have turned into major incidents.”
Greg Scarlatoiu, director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, said the news could be a sign of the regime's grip being slowly loosened on the country as it struggles to block outside information in the age of the internet.
“Even the most trusted agents of the Kim regime are now attempting to access information from the outside world," he said.
“The Kim family regime has stayed in power through overwhelming coercion, punishment, surveillance and information control.
“The regime continues to see the very limited information entering the country from the outside world as a grave threat to its grip on power.
“Despite the regime's efforts, the North Korean information firewall is slowly, but surely and steadily, crumbling.
“Due to information surreptitiously smuggled into the country, the oppression North Koreans face will eventually come to a swift end.”
The incident has sparked panic among North Korean top brass, with a heavy crackdown in the ministry after concerns that the agents involved may have leaked the classified information to colleagues.
South Korean outlets say the transgression of the rogue googler were "especially unforgivable", as he was a “security warrior tasked with defending the Greatest Dignity [Kim Jong-un] with his life”.
“This act alone… could get him shot,” Daily NK wrote.
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