Workshop announcement: Human Rights Foundation, Flashdrives for Freedom

June 26th 2017

The workshop we are announcing today comes from Human Rights Foundation in New York. Their North Korea project, Flashdrives for Freedom, has helped many over the years. You are invited to contribute your skills and ideas, about coding, encryption, data transmission, and more.

For decades, the North Korean government has used violence to impose a monopoly on information within the country. Today, even the possession of the smallest amount of subversive material remains forbidden. Thanks to the tireless efforts of North Korean defectors and the growth of the country’s black market, an increasing amount of outside information is now reaching the North Korean people. Some groups, like North Korea Strategy Center, rely on trade and smuggling routes to get equipment—such as radio transmitters, cell phones, MP3 players, laptops, and USB drives—across the Chinese border and onto the black market. Others, like Park Sang Hak’s Fighters for a Free North Korea, launch balloons over the South Korean border, carrying leaflets and foreign film DVDs through the sky. Others transmit informational radio broadcasts from abroad.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) will present to the SHA community how information is sent into the tightly-controlled country—whether via leaflets dropped by helium-nitrogen balloons, on USB drives and DVDs, or by shortwave radio. The session will explore how individuals and organizations working on this issue can improve current techniques to hack the North Korean regime’s information monopoly. The participants will then build on this existing knowledge and brainstorm new and innovative ways of getting information past the North Korean regime’s information blockade. Join this conversation to come up with solutions on how to advance the information revolution in the struggle for a free North Korea.

HRF is also calling on the SHA community to donate old flash drives, which will, in turn, be wiped clean and given to North Korean defector-led organizations. Each year, these groups collectively smuggle fewer than 10,000 flash drives into North Korea. They could send many more, but are limited by costs. By gifting them drives through HRF’s Flash Drives for Freedom campaign, they can instead focus on their programs and future work, rather than spend time and money on purchasing equipment.

If you happen to be in possession of a NK device or have questions, please contact Jalkanen Dina Solveig (

Sign up for our announce list

Enter your mail here to sign up on our announce list