Smuggling outside information into North Korea on donated USB drives.

Believe it or not, USBs are a significant form of sharing information in North Korea. Many citizens have devices with USB ports. So for many years, North Korean defectors have organized efforts to smuggle outside info into North Korea on USB drives to counter Kim Jong-un’s constant propaganda. But these groups were buying USB drives at cost with limited resources. Flash Drives For Freedom is a campaign that travels the world inspiring people to donate their own USB drives. As a collaboration between the Human Rights Foundation, Forum 280, and USB Memory Direct, Flash Drives for Freedom is significantly increasing the capacities of these North Korean defector groups.

"It's literally a key that will unlock a new world for North Koreans."

Wired
1. Send us your USB Drives

You can mail them, drop them off at our location, or bring them to our events across the world.

2. We'll wipe them and fill them with content

Our activists on the ground research which materials make the biggest impact, based on information such as—which content is getting banned by the Kim Jong Un regime, what content North Koreans are asking for, what North Korean defectors tell us influenced their escape.

3. Our partners on the ground smuggle in the drives

There are various means by which they get the content into the hands of North Koreans.

Impact

114x
Return on Investment
125k
Drives Donated
610M
Free media impressions
$0
Spent on media
18k
Articles written about it
1.3M
Estimated North Koreans have used the drives
2.1M
Hours of footage smuggled
48M
Hours of reading material smuggled

We created an installation that was itself a donation mechanism. Real propaganda from Kim Jong-un emits from each mouth. When you insert a USB drive, it literally silences him. It is currently traveling throughout the world, gathering drives and raising awareness.

 

 

 

 

POSTER / PRINT

We created posters in the constructivist, propaganda style as a call to action to donate. We sold them at trade shows and online. Each poster purchase donated 15 drives.

 

 

STICKER

Any USB port could become a tiny billboard for the campaign.

 

 

NEWS SEGMENT ON MSNBC

The story was covered on many major news outlets. MSNBC covered it best.
Here is the full segment.

 

 

THE INSTALLATION WAS STOLEN

While the installation was temporarily stored in Los Angeles, on Oct 5, 2016, someone broke into the storage unit. There was an expensive TV in the unit as well, but he left it completely untouched. The man seemed to know what he was doing as he actually opened the cases and removed the heavy iron bases from them (which were used to hold the installation standing up), taking with him only the artwork, which had virtually no resale value. We never saw a trace of the installation again. The police were never able to identify the man. But we rebuilt the installation and it continues touring the world.

 

GRASSROOTS DRIVES

Of their own accord, people began collecting drives in their communities and mailed them to us. Bars exchanged drinks for drives. Kids canvased their neighboorhood. Preachers pounded the pulpit. At SXSW, anyone could get free tickets to events. All in exchange for drives.