At a ceremony in New York City, HRF was awarded a 2017 Wood Pencil in D&AD Impact's Humanitarian Aid category for Flash Drives for Freedom. The campaign challenges Kim Jong-un's dictatorship by sending USBs loaded with outside information into North Korea. The D&AD Impact Awards seek to identify and celebrate great, transformative, creative ideas that have had real impact and, ultimately, contribute towards a better, fairer and more sustainable future for all.
The Flash Drives for Freedom interactive exhibit has been featured around the world at conferences ranging from SXSW to WIRED to DEF CON and allows guests to donate USBs by sticking them into the mouth of Kim Jong Un, silencing a recording of one of his public speeches. Flash Drives for Freedom is a collaboration between HRF, Forum 280, and USB Memory Direct that aims to disrupt the North Korean dictatorship using outside information. The initiative collects flash drives, loads them with news, pop culture, and other information from abroad, and sends them into North Korea with the help of refugee and defector-led organizations. The campaign's eye-catching imagery was designed pro-bono by a group of Chicago-based designers including Doug Burnett, Soham Chatterjee, Julio Cesar D'Alfonso, and Joe Maggiore.
Watch this short video to learn more about Flash Drives for Freedom. Through the campaign, HRF has collected more than 100,000 flash drives and is in the process of sending them into North Korea, providing citizens with news, culture, and a glimpse of the outside world. The campaign has been covered by BBC News, CNN, WIRED, MSNBC, Fast Company, The Economist, Reason TV, PBS, Quartz, The Globe and Mail, The New York Post, PC Magazine, The Guardian, Business Insider, USA Today, and many other international media outlets, creating widespread awareness and informing millions of people about how anyone can get involved in the struggle to promote human rights inside North Korea. You can learn more about the program and donate your flash drives here.