The Corner

Like a Good Neighbor

The Human Rights Foundation is NR’s neighbor — located a few blocks away in the Empire State Building. It is also a great “point of light,” as the first Bush might say. One thing HRF has is imagination — an imagination of human-rights activism. An activist imagination. Let me illustrate by telling you about the latest.

Actually, I will quote from HRF’s press release:

This past weekend, the Human Rights Foundation gathered approximately 100 technologists, engineers, venture capitalists, designers, coders, and North Korean defectors in downtown San Francisco for the world’s first North Korea-focused hackathon.

“Hack North Korea” participants broke into eight teams and, guided by North Korean defectors, spent two days honing their ideas for getting information into the sealed-off country. A panel of judges heard presentations on a wide variety of concepts ranging from the low-tech, using slingshots to catapult DVDs from China over the Yalu River into North Korea, to the more detailed, such as hiding films inside video games and creating private mesh networks.

The winners were Team Skylife, made up of Matthew Lee, a former Google employee now working on a stealth start-up in San Francisco, and Justice and Madison Suh, a 17-year-old brother-sister pair who had flown from Virginia to compete in the event.

To read the rest, go here. What a great idea. The North Koreans live in a giant, national gulag. It is, as Jeane Kirkpatrick said, a “psychotic state” — something very rare in history (and almost impossible to deal with). That concerned outsiders want to break through to the zeks is gratifying and marvelous.

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