Prominent North Korean defectors and refugees Park Sang Hak, Park Yeonmi, and Kim Heung Kwang traveled from Seoul to educate Hack North Korea participants about how information is currently brought into the tightly controlled closed regime—whether via leaflets dropped by helium-nitrogen balloons, on USB drives and DVDs, or by shortwave radio. The participants built on this existing knowledge and brainstormed new and innovative ways of getting information past the North Korean regime’s information blockade. Presentations took place on Sunday, August 3, and judges selected a winning team. HRF’s goal is to implement some of the winning ideas into actual field operations in the months following the hackathon.
The hackathon is part of HRF’s ongoing Disrupt North Korea project and is another step in building a bridge between the defector and Silicon Valley communities, allowing more information than ever to reach the North Korean people.