A “hackathon” planned for August aims to harness the technical prowess of Silicon Valley in coming up with new ways to get information safely into North Korea.
“Hack North Korea” will take place in San Francisco and has been organized by The Human Rights Foundation, a New York-based group that earlier this year helped sent USB thumb drives loaded with Wikipedia across the inter-Korean border in balloons.
The event won’t be engaging in any computer hacking in the malicious sense. Rather, it will be hacking in the sense of coming up with new ways to “spark better ideas for getting information into the world’s most closed and isolated society,” HRF said.
Several prominent and well-known North Korean defectors will attend the event including Park Sang Hak, Kang Chol Hwan, Park Yeonmi and Kim Heung Gwang.
They’ll speak on the methods currently used to get information into the country — things that include CD-ROMs and DVDs, USB sticks, shortwave radio, and leaflets dropped from balloons.
HRF brought Park to Silicon Valley earlier this year at which time he met with engineers from Wikipedia and spoke at Stanford University.
“Participants will become familiar with the various ways that information and truth are smuggled into North Korea today, and gain an understanding of the technology landscape inside the country. Then, guided by our North Korean guests, attendees will break into teams to come up with new ways to help end the Kim dictatorship’s monopoly of information on the twenty-five million people living under its rule,” HRF said.
The two-day event is part of HRF’s “Disrupt North Korea” program that seeks to put a dent in the information blockade that surrounds the country.