North Koreans Meet Startup Professionals in Silicone Valley
Two North Koreans who were able to escape from a nation where the Internet is outlawed now hope to hone their methods with the help of Silicon Valley companies and tech professionals. Last week, they met with Wikimedia engineers in San Francisco, and on Monday they're scheduled to talk with software engineers and hardware developers gathered at Stanford University.
"The problems they have are a five-finger exercise for a lot of the engineers we meet here," said Alex Gladstein of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, who helped arrange the visit of the North Korean dissidents. "Each parcel of truth that makes it in is another crack in the totalitarian wall."
Support from the tech community, he said, could mean everything from GPS expertise to track the balloons to donations of flash drives.
The Northern California trip with dissidents Park Sang Hak, who launches the weather balloons, and Kang Chol-Hwan, who smuggles in the DVDs, comes just days after the United Nations condemned the North Korean regime led by Kim Jong Un. A nearly 400-page report details prison-camp atrocities such as starvation, torture, forced abortions, murder, rape and "other grave sexual violence."