Flash drives aren’t an obsolete technology. They are vital conveyors of information for millions of people around the world--especially people living in North Korea.
In the world’s most closed society, flash drives are valuable tools of education and discovery. In a society without internet, with total government censorship, and with no independent media, North Koreans rely on these little pieces of plastic. Filled with films, books, and internet content, they are windows to the outside world.
Some North Koreans have escaped their country’s dictatorship and found freedom in South Korea. There, they have established civil society groups dedicated to sending information, culture, truth, and knowledge back to their families, friends, and neighbors.
Human Rights Foundation and Forum 280 are collecting flash drives to give to these North Korean, refugee-led organizations. Each year, these groups collectively smuggle fewer than 10,000 flash drives. They could send many more, but are limited by the fact that they have to purchase the drives on the internet at retail cost. By gifting them drives, Flash Drives for Freedom allows them to focus in 2016 on programs and future work rather than spend time and money on purchasing equipment.