South Korea (Seoul)
The Human Rights Foundation is a small operation with an annual budget of $3.9 million, yet it has chosen to take on the might of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The state is better know as North Korea, a dictatorship under Kim Jong-Il and his father and grandfather before him. North Korean systematically tramples over the rights of its people and is regarded as the most totalitarian regime on the planet. The government does not allow any dissent or criticism. Punishment for defying the regime is years of imprisonment in barbaric concentration camps or death.
HRF’s Disrupt North Korea project aims to help civil society groups operating in South Korea undermine the regime by carrying information and equipment over the border via broadcasting and balloon drops containing DVDs, USBs and transistor radios. By giving ordinary North Korea access to news, movies and culture enjoyed by those of us in the free world, HRF gives North Koreans hope and lets them know that the stories told by their dictators are not true.
Editor’s update 22 November 2016:
HRF have collected nearly 20,000 flash drives and are in the process of sending the plastic pieces of peace into North Korea. They have exhibited these Flash Drives for Freedom at festivals including SXSW, DEF CON and WIRED and continue to introduce more people to the topic of human rights in North Korea: “Our hopes for 2017 are to continue to collect flash drives and – hopefully – send 50,000 drives into North Korea by the end of 2017.”
Donate your working drives to this address in Palo Alto, because in the world’s most closed society, flash drives are valuable tools of education and discovery.
Michael is a former British Magazine Writer of the Year and two times Columnist of the Year. He is a regular contributor to Wired, author of a social history of the AK47 and his cultural and travel writing appears in the Financial Times and New Statesman.
Thor Halvorssen, President of the Human Rights Foundation and Alexander Lloyd, Silicon Valley angel investor