Unsuspecting American Helps Design North Korea’s Official Website

Daniel Doherty

4/19/2012 6:45:00 PM - Daniel Doherty

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Fox News has the scoop:

Robert Westmore of Southern California designs websites for a living -- but he was shocked to learn that he had designed a new homepage for the reclusive North Korean regime. “I had no idea,” he told FoxNews.com in an interview. “Honestly, I didn't even know North Korea had a website.”

While the notorious totalitarian government continues to spend hundreds of millions on failed rocket launches, North Korea skimps in other areas, notably web design. Indeed the country spent just $15 redesigning its national homepage, korea-dpr.com -- a fact accidentally discovered by an unsuspecting college student.

Fordham junior Michael DiTanna was working on a class project about Korean propaganda when he noticed the country's "flashy" new redesign, which DiTanna estimates to be only a few months old. A computer science major, DiTanna quickly realized the site was based on Westmore's $15 Blender template.

"Right away I saw that the site was produced through a purchased theme," DiTanna told FoxNews.com. "They just did a really sloppy job of cleaning up the source code," he added, leaving clues to the site's origin.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be all that surprised North Korea’s government only spent $15 on web design for their official website. After all, the oligarchs in power seem committed to spending all their money on failed missile launches and maintaining their military. How can the regime possibly afford to commission a professional to design their national homepage?

On the other hand, and on a more serious note, North Korea’s laughable and hugely embarrassing stunt last week has prompted the United States government to rescind their offer of 240,000 metric tons of food to the impoverished nation. Sadly, since the regime is uncommitted to adequately feeding their own people – as I explain in my Townhall Magazine piece A Ruined Nation – the hapless citizens of North Korea will continue to suffer. Then again, if they’re using templates for their official website primarily intended for personal blogs and websites, presumably because they can’t afford anything else, the situation in North Korea is probably a whole lot worse than we can possibly imagine.