The best of Slow Journalism: Hacking North Korea

AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

In his excellent Wired article ‘Hacking North Korea’, Delayed Gratification contributor Michael Hodges speaks to people who managed to escape the oppressive regime and become defector activists, determined to utilise technology to liberate their homeland.

Hodges speaks to one such defector, Choi Jung-hoon, founder of Free North Korea Radio and a commander in the North Korean People’s Liberation Front. The organisation uses technology to foster dissent within North Korea and last year managed to get 6,000 PC notebooks loaded with anti-regime media into the country. The regime has responded with regular death threats; Choi says he has received “bloodied axes and knives in the post”.

Another group, the Human Rights Foundation, regularly smuggles into the country USB sticks loaded with films, saved Wikipedia pages and South Korean soap operas. Its director, Thor Halvorssen, believes that The Interview, the movie at the heart of November 2014’s Sony Pictures hack, “skewered the conceit at the heart of North Korea’s cult of personality”, which is why he’s planning to sneak 100,000 USB copies of the film across the border this month.

Michael Hodges’ piece is a brilliantly written tale about the strains of living under a dictatorship, and the escapees who continue to risk their lives by trying to bring it down. You can read the full article here.

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