North Korean defector fights Pyongyang with thumbdrive-laden balloons
SAN FRANCISCO—For years, Park Sang Hak has fought the North Korean government with balloons.
The long, thin, translucent, 36-foot-long (12-meter) balloons are loaded up with USB sticks with Wikipedia entries, DVDs of popular TV shows, anti-government leaflets, and even single American dollar bills.
(The last is included so starving North Koreans can buy rice on the black market.) While the balloons typically make it over the border by only a few kilometers or so (often dropping inside the Demilitarized Zone), sometimes they can land as far away as Pyongyang, about 125 miles from the border.
Speaking in a local South of Market coffee shop, the North Korean defector explained Monday morning to Ars through an interpreter that he’s currently on a tour of Northern California, looking for tech-savvy benefactors to help improve his air-dropped messages. Park’s group, the Freedom Fighters of North Korea, claims to have sent 52 million leaflets in recent years. But with hardly any original information getting out of North Korea, it’s almost impossible to know what impact, if any, they’re having.
“I believe that if we can get 100 times more balloons, then we will make [North Korean dictator] Kim Jong Un paranoid—sending more and more balloons to North Korea is more effective than sending a bomb on North Korea,” Park added. “The thing is that if South Korea or the United States Air Force dropped a bomb, there's a way that [North Korea] would react to it, but the thing is with leaflets there's no way to react
Full story: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2...aden-balloons/