Paper

Hack and Frack North Korea

| April 2015

How Information Campaigns can Liberate the Hermit Kingdom

Executive Summary

This paper will make a case for the U.S. government to pursue three strategies if its operational objective is to force North Korea to reappraise its own interests. Individual self-determination and access to information—two properties the Kim regime fears most for its citizens to possess –are the short-term goals for North Koreans. This objective and two goals do not necessarily equate to regime change.

Even at its best, information fracking does not portend rapid changes in North Korea. But it does offer the best prospect for creating conditions for the government to consider incremental political changes. The more informed its citizens are, the less North Korea’s political leadership will be able to simply eliminate all the “bad seeds” in society by relegating alleged criminals and their relatives to political prison camps or worse. Otherwise, there will be no one left to rule over. Success of information hacking requires enlisting a broad range of stakeholders as part of its three-pronged strategy:

  1. Strengthen covert operations to hack into North Korea’s information channels and support internal dissidents.
  2. Increase funding for NGOs in the U.S. and South Korea to transmit outside media into North Korea and provide business skills to North Koreans.
  3. Bolster training for North Korean defectors, the primary liaisons between North Korea and the outside world, in journalism, IT, and social media

Each effort complements the other two; all must be pursued in concert.

 

Read the full paper by downloading the PDF below:

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Baek, Jieun. “Hack and Frack North Korea.” Paper, April 2015.

The Author