Appeal for donations of USB keys to help smuggle films and news into North Korea

Films, TV and Korean Wikipedia entries are all items campaigners are trying to sneak in

Appeal for donations of USB keys to help smuggle films and news into North Korea

North Korean students and performers create the shape of the North Korean flag during the Arirang Grand Mass gymnastics and Artistic performance at the May day stadium in Pyongyang | Image: ELIZABETH DALZIEL / AP/Press Association Images

Human rights organisations have appealed for people to donate USB keys to help fight against indoctrination in North Korea.

The storage devices are loaded with media and used to smuggle files such as Hollywood films and South Korean TV shows, and the South Korean Wikipedia into the authoritarian state, with activists sneaking them across borders, the BBC reports.

The material is illegal in North Korea and those smuggling it in face serious danger in doing so. In addition to the risks the groups have to buy the flash drives themselves, as well as pay for bribing North Korean border officials.

"After food and water, the next thing people in North Korea want is knowledge," Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer of the non-profit Human Rights Foundation told the BBC.

"We really believe education is the solution in North Korea.”

"For many of us flash drives are becoming an obsolete technology - we have the cloud, and we can share things. But every single flash drive could save someone's life,” he added.

The sticks are smuggled into the country by organisations such as the South Korean group, the Seoul based North Korean Strategy Centre.

"It's always been a challenge to get people to understand why North Koreans' access to information is important, and this gives us a physical representation," Sharon Stratton, of the NKSC, told Wired.

Stratton says the USB keys are “literally a key that will unlock a new world for North Koreans."