Beyond the Headlines: Understanding Korea

– Good afternoon. Good to see you all back, thanks for coming. It’s a great pleasure to be able to start
this last session on the discussion on the crisis in the Korean peninsula. This year’s Albright Institute overarching
theme is about harnessing the power of technology, truth and trust in a world transformed. So far, the discussions have been great in
actually highlighting all of the keywords in our title. It is about truth, how do we find out what
is really happening in Korea, north and south, and what is really a myth and what is a lie,
and everything in between. It is about trust, which seems to be the one
item that we have in great deficit, nobody seems to be trusting anybody else. The world is being transformed continuously
under this kind of lack of trust, and then we have technology that’s trying to play a
positive role, we hope. So far it has not been able to do that very
successfully. Very often, people like me, technologists,
think of technology as something that if we could only harness it, we could put it to
great use, and we have done so in many, many occasions in our human history. What happens, however, with technology is
that very likely, technology works very well every time after you test it carefully, except
like two days ago in the case of Hawaii, and in the case of the false alarm in Hawaii,
and in the case of Japan that also there was some kind of false alarm. Because we forget that, no matter how well
technology works, there is a human that’s sitting in front of the technology that has
to make decisions, and this human often has to make decisions under not very clear conditions,
under pressure, under fear, under urgency, sometimes under the lack of the right mental
abilities to actually do the right thing. So, we will try to unpack some of these discussions,
and these thoughts today. I’m very pleased to have the wonderful panel
to my right, and I will start by introducing Melissa Hanham on the right. Melissa Hanham is a senior research associate
at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. CNS is a term you will hear from time to time. She studies East Asian security and the proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction with particular focus on North Korean weapons of mass destruction,
procurement and proliferation networks, and China’s nuclear posture. She also studies Chinese, South Korean, Japanese,
nuclear exports, as well as East and Southwest Asian export control systems, and proliferation
finance activities. She’s supports MIS research on both CNS and
META Lab, by investigating new technologies, new techniques in open source, geospatial
analysis, incorporating satellite and ariel imagery and other remote sensing data, large
datasets or cell media, 3D modeling, all kinds of very exciting tech stuff, GAS mapping,
she teaches geospatial tools for nonproliferation analysis at the Middlebury Institute for International
Studies and is a regular contributor to the Arms Control Wonk. To her right is our very own Professor Katharine
Moon who will play the role of the moderator in the panel. Professor Moon is a professor of political
science and the Wasserman Chair of Asian Studies at Wellesley. She’s also a non-resident senior fellow at
the Brookings Institute, the Center for East Asia Policy, and was the inaugural holder
of the South Korea, Korea Foundation chair in Korean studies 2014, 2016. Professor Moon’s research encompasses the
US-Korea alliance, East Asian politics, inter-Korean relations, democratization, nationalism, women
and gender politics, international migration, identity politics, and comparative social
movements in East Asia. She has done extensive work in writing about
all the topis that she is interested, her current book is North Koreans and the Future
of Korean Democracy, where she analyzes the impact of demographic changes in South Korea
on Korean democracy and following policy. And to her right, all the way from UK is Jieun
Baek, a doctoral candidate in public policy at the University of Oxford, where she is
researching her first movers of descent, she co-authored North Korea’s Hidden Revolution
How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society, published by Yale University
Press just last year, and she’s the founder of Lumen, an organization that researches
and sends information into closed societies. Previously she was a research fellow at the
Belfer Center for Science International Affairs at Harvard, and she worked at Google where,
among other roles, she served at Google’s as the North Korean expert. To her right, you will not be able to see
it on camera, is who we’ll call Mr. Kim, is a human rights activist from North Korea. Let’s all welcome the panelists today. We will go through about three o’clock where
the panelists will do the interacting, we’ll start the discussion, and then we’ll open
from three to 3:30 to Q and A. – Okay, super. Thank you so much. So, this is the really fun part of a very
fun day, our last panel, and really a focused discussion, as a conversation among us first,
and then to include you in the latter portion. So, I shared some questions with our guests
to get them thinking in advance, and I’ll share the questions with you, I will refresh
their memories, and then we’ll just have a conversation about them. So, one question that I had in mind that I
find really urgent sometimes, when I talk to people who care about North Korea, the
issues around North Korea, peninsular politics, all the problems around it, et cetera, is
from a US perspective, people are obsessed about North Korea as a nuclear state, and
especially the recent capabilities that it has demonstrated with its new inter-continental
ballistic missiles, ICBMs that might be able to reach the United States. But Mr. Kim grew up in North Korea, and has
also lived in South Korea, and now lives in the United States, so the perspectives might
be a little different. Ms. Jieun Baek is a Korean-American who is
currently studying in the UK, and Ms. Hanham is a Canadian citizen who lives in the United
States, works in the United States, and has traveled various places and met many people
who have different perspectives on North Korea. So, what in your opinion, is the most important
issue about North Korea that is non-nuclear? That is non-nuclear. Whether it’s short-term importance, mid-term,
long-term, up to you. Jieun, you wanna start? – Sure. So. I think my answer changes depending on what
part of my identity you ask. So, if it’s the more faith-based side of my
identity, it’d probably be trying to promote religious, you know, freedom, and freedom
of expression for people inside North Korea. If you’re asking the bodying aspiring scholar
side of me, I’d say freedom of intellectual expression and studies. I think, just as like a citizen of the world,
I would say what I think is the most important non-nuclear issue is to provide all citizens,
inside this country of North Korea, the tools that they could use, if they so desire, to
improve their lives in the short, mid-term, and long-term future. And so, I particularly focus on information,
and I know that opens up a huge list of other questions, what kind of information? Well, we can talk more about that later, what’s
true, who’s dictating what’s being sent in, and what’s important, and so forth. But I think tools that people can use, if
they wish to do so, to improve their lives in making just, you know, slightly better
decisions for them and the lives of those they love. – Thank you. So, even with nuclear capacity by the state,
tools to improve individual people’s lives? Mr. Kim, what are you thoughts on the most
important thing about North Korea? – [Mr. Kim] For the past couple of years,
the most interesting to me was the social change of North Korea, inside of North Korea. So, unlike what we see from media every day,
from CNN, Fox News, North Korea is still a place where all the people live, and where
people interact with their family, and their neighbors, and within their society. And especially, as a former citizen of the
country, I see a big change in the society, compared to my parent’s generation, and my
generation. For example, my parent’s generation, they
all went to school, and that they were all well-educated with the philosophy of Juche
ideology. Juche is the philosophy, the fundamental philosophy,
of the North Korean society, I hope Dr. Moon explains a little bit more about what Juche
ideology is, and it dominates the country. And the people believe Kim Il Sung, and Kim’s
family as divine god. However, for the past 20 years, I will say,
especially my generation, the younger generation, we are departing from the government. There is lack of loyalty to the government,
and the younger generation is more becoming practical in terms of their social life, and
in their life, so I open my eyes widely and they keep closing to watch what’s going on
in North Korea, and as Jieun mentioned previously, there is a huge desire, or demand, on foreign
information, foreign media. So, it was not possible 20 years ago, but
nowadays there is huge consumption, consumer market in North Korea, and that the market
demands information. There certainly is punishment on the people
who access TV, foreign information, but the desire exceeds the punishment. So, I’m still figuring it out, what’s going
on, and I think besides the ICBM and the nukes, I believe to me, a social change of North
Korea is most important. – Thank you very much. Just to define Juche ideology very quickly,
we usually spell it in English J-U-C-H-E, Juche, which is based on the Chinese characters,
roughly defined as self-reliance, self-sustaining reliance, and that has been the ideology,
political, social, cultural, religious ideology of North Korea since 1959, 1960 when it became
developed more fully and established, and that idea, number one, is a direct challenge
to North Korea’s historical past of Japanese colonialism. Japan has colonized the peninsula, so it stems
from an anti-colonial nationalism, it also has a lot to do with North Korea’s desire
to be a modern nation, but following its own path, its own quote principles. And Kim Il Sung, one of the founders of the
North Korean state, had developed this with his people, and established a whole science
and art of Juche as a philosophy. And so that is what Mr. Kim is referring to,
that is the indoctrination. You know, every society has some central ideological
set of principles that try to bring a nation together, and the Kim dynasty has held onto
Juche as such a principle. Melissa, you have had more time to think about
this question, and you, I know, everyday are obsessed with the nuclear question, but what
is one non-nuclear issue of great importance, in your view, regarding North Korea? – I think, for me, the issue I would focus
on is the sudden change in state, an instability. I think, at this point, there is enough information
that has penetrated North Korea, that many people feel that they have economic opportunities
in the surrounding countries, and so if there were a decapitation exercise, which would
be the US and, perhaps allies South Korea and Japan, would execute an operation to kill
Kim Jong-un and senior leadership, there is a concern that the regular people may not
have confidence in the next government that came in, and may, instead, migrate quickly
to the surrounding countries. It’s tough though, because for the very same
reason, you want North Koreans to have a high standard of living, and religious and freedom
of expression, and access to market information, so you have to balance, you know, the desire
for these opportunities, as are allowed to every country and to every people, with the
sudden disruption, the movement of people, disease, you know, the logistical difficulty
of South Korea, China, Japan, Russia suddenly absorbing so many people who are moving for
a better life. – Big, big questions, and potentially huge
problems. Thank you. Some other thoughts I have had, and this is
where we can focus on technology since that’s a major theme of this year’s Albright events,
so all of you actually are engaged in technology in different ways, and I wanted us to think
a bit about how difficult it is to really understand North Korea, we know that. How difficult it is to get information on
North Korea, and I wanted to ask you what are your thoughts on how you manage to get
as accurate a set of information that you need for your work or your activism, to what
extent does technology help in that regard, in what ways in technology not adequate to
get the information that you really need and to understand it? So, let’s start with that, and I’m gonna ask
actually Melissa to pick this up because you have some wonderful PowerPoint slides and
other visuals to show us about how you do your work regarding the nuclear weapons and
information. – Right, so we talk about technology disruption,
I’ve actually disrupted the entire panel by creating PowerPoint slides that were neither
needed nor wanted, so bear with me, thank you to the panel for indulging me. So, I became interested in technology, not
because I was born with a burning desire to be ahead of the curve in technology and STEM. I have an undergraduate degree and a master’s
degree in basically various variations of political science. Technology, for me, was a means to an end,
a way to learn about North Korea because I could not go there, and so the very first
exposure I had was consuming media. Sometimes that media was photos, sometimes
that media is videos, and sometimes it’s satellite imagery, and you may not realize, but there
is a lot of satellite imagery that’s available to you today for free on a little tool called
Google Earth, and you may use Google Maps to find your way to a restaurant, there are
many variations for different countries, so if you don’t find what you want on Google,
go to Yandex or Baidu, or other countries that use mapping services, but what I started
doing was downloading the Google Earth software program, and there’s many layers of historical
satellite imagery there, and so that’s how I really, for me, that’s how I got access
to information. So, Dr. Moon already showed us this picture
earlier today, or a very similar version of it, and this is a KN-08 missile. It itself has never been fired, but when it
was paraded in this parade, international press were present, and we got to see it,
and everyone freaked out because this was the biggest missile they had seen North Korea
show publicly before. But what was, you know, less of the big news
story was the truck that it was on top of, and Chinese citizens started pointing out,
well this truck looks very similar to a truck that is produced in China for both military
and civilian purposes, so China produces these trucks called transporter erector launchers,
T-E-Ls, TELS, in order to erect their Chinese missiles and launch them, and the reason you
keep your missiles always moving, always around is you increase the survivability. By now everyone knows where everyone’s silos
are, and so you keep your trucks moving in and out of caves, and you’re always upping
the anti. But this truck here ended up in North Korea
in downtown Pyongyang, and so everyone wanted to know why. Not me, myself, but some colleagues made a
3D model of the truck and the missile because they were trying to figure out how big the
missile was. So you can use a free software project that
many architects or landscape designers use, called SketchUp, and you can make a scale
model, by essentially setting the horizon lines and tracing the object itself, but you
won’t know how big it is until you find something in the image that gives you a height. And so, in this case, the Chinese company
was selling the truck, and so they gave dimensions of the truck on their website. So these people could size the truck, and
they were interested in the missile, but I was interested in the truck. So this is 13 seconds of a video of Kim Jong-il
visiting a warehouse and looking at some different missiles and some trucks, and that’s it. That’s all I had. My boss is named Dr. Jeffery Lewis, and he’s
also a researcher at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and he said Melissa, I hear you really
like making 3D models, over this Christmas break would you please make a 3D model of
the inside of the building, because then I will find it in North Korea. And I said, I didn’t say it to his face, but
sometimes I do now, but I was like nuts. You’re nuts, right. I mean technically I knew it was possible
to make the 3D model, but I didn’t think he would find it. But I’m very obedient and respective of authority,
so I made the 3D model, and essentially I used the things in the image that I understood. I knew the size of the trucks, and so there’s
actually two different kinds of trucks they show us, and we can unpack it further later
if you’re interested. There’s a few articles written about this
particular case study that I did with Jeffery and one of our graduate research assistants,
if you ever happen yourself looking for a research assistant position. And essentially, I was able to model the whole
room sort of scaling with what information I did know, and I came up with a building
like this and I had actually, after a lot of exhaustive searching, found that the room
had two different roofs and two different skylights on it, and I couldn’t see all the
skylights, I didn’t know exactly what they were shaped like, so this is what I gave him,
and he had to start searching. So, he and our research assistant, who speaks
Korean, went through much public information, articles, World Food Programme reports, defector
accounts, which basically identified this valley as a valley where much of the missile
activity happens. But this is still a really large surface area
to search, so in order to reduce the amount of surface area that he had to search, and
this is just Google Earth, right, this isn’t super secret CIA technology or anything, right. This is Google Earth. We downloaded a set of points that showed
where surfaced air missiles are located. So think about it, if you had this whole valley
to search, where would you search? You would search where all the surfaced air
missiles are because they’re protecting something, right? So, start your search there. And, sure enough, he found this. And the skylight is different, and we see
that, you know, there’s no windows on one wall, because it had another room adjacent
to it, and the reason the windows are so high up is because it has a kind of, like, carport
cover thing there. And the reason that it had two different roofs
is because, between 2004 and 2011, which is when Google Earth had the imagery, they remodeled
the roof, and so I took the 3D model I made, and I put the missile and the truck inside,
and it fit like a glove, and this was really affirming, because it meant that a 3D model
made by some other group, and my 3D model fit, but I had one deep fear, and that was
I had no idea how to park that thing, and I thought I made a mistake. And I was afraid of telling my boss that I
had made a mistake, and I was afraid of telling the world I had made a mistake, so I crowd-sourced
my family on Facebook, and I thought I don’t care if my family figures out I made a mistake. And you know, so I went on Facebook and one
of my cousins was like eh, you’re an idiot, blah, blah blah, and another one of my cousins
is a long-range truck driver from Canada to the US, and he drives produce and other goods
and he knows exactly how to take a huge truck and move it around a building. And the thing I’ve learned with all of this
is that no one is an expert in all of the things you need to know to figure out these
problems. It’s inter-disciplinary. What I really needed in that minute was a
truck driver, and my cousin helped me. What he said is you put cheap plastic and
metal casters under the wheels of the truck, and you push it across the floor, you slide
it. It’s the same way Japanese parking violations,
or sometimes I think in DC, if you park your car, they’ll push it out of the way. But the story continues, this place is important
today, this is the Hwasong-14 ICBM. This was launched in July of last year, and
they’re launching it, this is a video that they have shared on YouTube, Google no longer
shares YouTube videos, which is a little bit unfortunate for me, the researcher, but it
does match US sanctions and anti-money laundering efforts. So North Korea, there’s Kim he’s inspecting,
as they set up the missile on the same truck, and the background, if you look very carefully,
you will see clues about where in North Korea it is. So, we can see a road, an intersection. It’s a little bit dark right now, I think
with the lighting here, but you can see a road hitting another road, there’s trees. We can see it’s on, like, a grassy kind of
pavilion, and there’s a building there with lights on it, and as the missile takes off,
even in the distance, you can see some more buildings, almost like a village. So, it turns out they’re using this same place. And again, we were a little worried that,
you know, in the video the plaza has grass and this one is paved in this image, but otherwise
everything lines up, and so we checked more recent satellite imagery and indeed, they
had re-turfed the area for Kim Jong-un’s comfortable feet. And they brought him his own port-a-potty,
too. And, using the perspective of the video camera,
we can even see where he stood when he watched the launch, we could see where the launch
was, itself, and so we could learn a lot of information about this. This is where the story gets even weirder. After the launch of the Hwasong-14, North
Korea threw a large banquet to celebrate all the scientists who had worked on the missile
program, and during the banquet, and all-girl band dressed in navy uniforms played rock
music. You can see the drum kit in the center of
the screen, but in the background behind this rock concert are pictures of Kim Jong-il visiting
a large warehouse with missiles in the background, and underneath the wheels of the truck, you
can see casters. It took four years to prove it, that the theory
of my cousin, the truck driver, was correct. But eventually, through this shared media,
we learned. There’s always a grain of salt, so the only
thing I would caution is that a lot of photos in North Korea are Photoshopped, and a lot
of them are staged. So, we can use software to help us detect
when a photo is altered many times, but if the photo is just staged, it is still sometimes
hard to figure out exactly. So, we try to create an environment with lots
of different pieces of information that either collectively help us understand a situation,
or which disprove a myth kind of thing. So, thank you for indulging me. – Thank you so much, that was really enlightening. We have Jieun Baek here who, not only, consumes
technology information, like we all do here, but also sends out, exports, not for profit,
but exports technology, information technology, to North Korea. So Jieun, can you tell us a little bit, you’re
whole book was on that, why you do it, the logistics of it, within bounds of confidentiality,
and also what you hope to get out of it. – So, in terms of me learning about this place,
I think, you know, Melissa really described it aptly, which is, the whole process is inter-disciplinary
effort, where consuming is one thing, and there’s so many sources out there. Mr. Kim and I were talking about some of our
favorite sources for information about North Korea. Consuming is one thing, healthy skepticism
is another, and trying to figure out what I believe and how I know what I know is something
that is just an ongoing process. The more I know, I think, the less I know. The less I know about North Korea, I’m kind
of getting myself confused now with all these phrases, but it’s true. And so, actually the process of writing the
book, I was telling Dr. Moon yesterday, the process of writing my book is the reason why
I ended up doing a doctorate. I kind of thought, actually how do I know
what I know what I’m writing? I did try to fact check as much as I could
about the book, so please get a copy if you can. In terms of sending information in, I think
it’s important, the reason why I do it, and I’m part of a growing community, a growing
global community, of activists, hacktivists, academics, researches, technologists, pastors,
I mean, it’s a truly, truly diverse group of people involved in this initiative. The reason why I, personally, do it is, information
truly is power. It comes in various forms, and so I think
that is, if I as someone who was arbitrarily born in the United States has the most freest
of freedoms in this world to consume whatever I want, however I want, whenever I want, watch
it or read it with whoever I want, why not share that gift with some of the people who
I happen to share a heritage with? And it costs me nothing. – Tell us what it is you actually do. – So, I can talk more about this in detail,
perhaps off the record in a 101, but essentially I’m part of a network, and also am growing
my own organization as well, to try to send various types of information, and that’s also
transient information through various technologies, and storage devices, and media devices, into
the country without breaking laws, rules, regulations, sanctions, and so forth. And so, that’s essentially what I’m a part
of, and I can get into more detail later on. But the type of information is, of course
you know, we’ve heard about a lot of entertainment and fun media going in, and that’s true, it’s
very high in demand in North Korea. K-dramas and K-pop is really popular elsewhere,
and like Dr. Moon was saying this morning, North Korean people are just like us in that
they have very, this is very similar desires and interests and so forth. So, that’s very popular. But, what people may take away from the same
drama that you and I may watch is different for the viewer. I remember I was listening to some folks from
North Korea telling me that they’re watching Desperate Housewives, and there’s a particular
scene in an episode that shocked them, which was there was a police arrest scene, and some
man was being arrested, and the police kept saying these things, and I mean it was the
Miranda rights, but the idea that the people under arrest could be read rights, and they’re
not being arbitrarily arrested, I mean that’s something I never thought somebody could take
away from, you know, that particular show. Shows are important, but also news, e-books,
histories about North Korea from various perspectives, histories about South Korea, American history,
financial, news, economics and business tactics 101 and so forth is some of the materials
that we and my colleagues work to send in. – Thank you. I have always poo-pooed Desperate Housewives,
I’ve never watched it, never will, but now I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve made a mistake,
because I could have learned something about what the North Koreans would be getting. North Koreans also, they love Disney. Believe it or not, and they have staged their
own versions of The Lion King. Yep, Lion King. They can sing Disney songs. When foreigners go to North Korea and enjoy
singing over dinner, and in this way, you know they’re Korean cause all Koreans sing,
especially you get a little booze into them, and they start singing. Don’t worry, I didn’t have any wine. – That is a fact. – That is a fact, right, that is a fact. Whether you can sing or not doesn’t matter,
you have to sing. I’ve been told by friends who’ve gone that
North Koreans will break out into these Disney songs, and of course, they imitate the fashion
look, the skin regimen, the hair cuts, et cetera of the Korean star, South Korean stars
that they see on the Korean dramas, the K-dramas or K-pop. So, they follow fads just like anybody else,
and one time you and I had a conversation. First of all, this woman is a gold mine of
just incredible creativity, so I am just in awe of you in so many ways. She also published a Yale University Press
book before she got her PhD, so I don’t know what you’re gonna do after you get your PhD. But one thing that you had told me that I
still remember was so interesting, because it’s one thing to send information to another
country, especially in an authoritarian or totalitarian society, and we can see why that’s
important, but you could also be criticized for being a unilateralist, right. Sending only information that, as Americans,
or Canadians, or whoever, find important, right? And that in a way, doubling the indoctrination
of North Koreans. And then you told me about the possibility
of feedback, that they have agencies. So, within limits, can you tell us how you
find out, and others like you, what North Koreans want to know? – Yeah. So, there is criticism about this. This is, perhaps, another form of American
imperialism, cause no matter how much I say I’m not biased, of course I’m biased, and
everybody is biased. And perhaps, you know, Mr. Kim could speak
more about this as well, but there are some activists who are able, and just people in
general who have escaped from North Korea, who can and do communicate with people inside
North Korea using cellphones. And, I think I’m seeing a lot of nodding heads,
and this is getting increasingly dangerous cause the government is cracking down on it,
not just with physical punishments, but with various new software that could catch people
very quickly in an automated fashion. Anyway, so there is real life communication
via phone and text messages happening between people inside North Korea, and in this particular
scenario, people who are consuming information, or are the marketeers who are then distributing
and selling it around the markets. People inside North Korea speaking with people
outside of the country, who may have been from North Korea or Chosunjok or South Korean
activists who can say, you know, okay what’s hot inside your markets these days, what’s
in demand? And so, let’s say 10, 15 years ago, a drama
that aired in South Korea, may be, you know, copied and then downloaded and then, you know,
bootlegged copy and so forth, and make its way into parts of North Korea a couple years
later. Now that process can take as short as 24 hours,
something that’s aired in South Korea, in Seoul, is seen in North Korea 24 hours later,
that could be even faster than when people in Boston could be watching something, cause
we’re trying to do things legal here. So, that just speaks to how sophisticated
some of these distribution markets have become, given the extreme demand for just learning
about the outside world, which is what Mr. Kim spoke about before. There are mind-numbing amounts of deterrence
mechanisms built into this system to prevent this, however the demand is also rising and
exceeds some of these punishments. – And just as clarification, Chosunjok that
Jieun just mentioned, means ethnic Koreans who are living in China, they are citizens
of China, they’re Chinese, but of ethnic Korean descent who live on the northeast, what the
Chinese call Dongbei, the northeast region on the border with North Korea, and they often
go back and forth. They sometimes can talk on cellphones. North Koreans often can go to the border and
pick up the Chinese cellphone satellite potential so that they can access outside of their own
border, so it’s a fascinating world with the technology. Mr. Kim, do you use technology in your work
on human rights? How do you get, in some ways probaby on human
rights, it’s probably the most difficult to get solid, accurate information in a timely
way. So, how do you deal with information gathering
technology, and also how you share what you know with others. – [Mr. Kim] So. Of course, we do use technology in this field. We just watch images on how people use technology
to discover, to identify unknown buildings and other stuff. I used to work, so it’s kind of familiar to
me, and in terms of human rights, we have tons of testimony, but lack of evidence. So, there is undeniable human rights violation
happening in North Korea, and North Korea is one of the few countries still run political
prison camps and concentration camps all around the country. And that’s how the government actually controls
the society, and that there is a huge surveillance on its citizens. If you say anything against the supreme leader,
you know, you can be killed. So, one of the issues was finding evidence,
and because of the development emerging of new technologies like cellphones and cameras,
and even small, you know micro video cameras. Now, it’s possible to get evidence out of
North Korea. So, it wasn’t initiated, I would say it wasn’t
initiated by human rights activists, but somehow, like you know Ms. Jieun did, what Ms. Jieun
does, people like North Korea and defecto or other groups send information into the
country. If you have a root to something bring into
the country, which means you can bring something out of the same root, right? So, now we do acquire evidence of, you know,
human rights violation in North Korea. So, if you search on YouTube you can, you
know, find some videos of North Korea and images of North Korea, but the thing is, North
Korean government is getting smarter on this as well. So, because human rights violation footages
of human rights violation, you know, expose to the international community, North Korean
government doesn’t want to be criticized for their work. So, what they do is, actually last month when
I was in Korea for a business trip, I watched a video footage of a trial, public trial,
and the people were like, you know, gathered in a big, it was two different video footages,
one was inside a building, and one was taken outside of a building. So, there was this trial going on, and the
people in the trial got capital punishment. They were sentenced to be punished with the
capital punishment, however maybe if it was 10 years ago, they would’ve carried out in
public. But somehow, I mean not somehow, but there
is no footage on public execution. After the trial, the police come in, and they’re
all taken to the camps, and they, you know, carry on the execution inside of the camp,
so no one actually go there and can take it, even though we have evidence of trial, we
don’t have actually dozens of public execution. Nowadays, you know, in North Korea they use
smartphone. Pyongyang, they have a different, over 10
different brands of smartphones. Of course they are from China, and they’re
just branded in Korean. So, somehow we are getting information out
of the country, but at the same time, North Korean government is, you know, trying to
be smart on this, and regulate, you know, trying to prevent those evidence go out to
the country. – Excellent, thank you so much. In the remaining time of our portion, I would
like to ask our three round table participants, if you have questions for one another based
on what you’ve heard and learned. So, Melissa? – Sure, I was curious. So, given that we all work in areas that are
informationally adversarial, I guess I would say, with North Korea, how do you protect
your personal privacy and your electronics, because the thing that has amazed me is how
many cyber attacks I get, how many personal attacks I get, and it is intimidating. There nothing I can do to protect against
a whole country’s cyber systems, so what do you do? – Are you sure it’s North Koreans behind it? – No, so attribution is hard. And I have to admit, for many years, I assumed
it was South Korea checking on me to make sure I wasn’t some kind of spy, but I have
been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigative, FBI in the US who handle cyber
crime, and it seems they feel it is probably North Korea. If not, many other countries too. But I use multi-factor authentication on my
computers, my devices are entirely separated, and I’m sure I still, but I was just curious,
not that you wanna give away your secrets, but how do you face that kind of intimidation,
and yeah? – [Mr. Kim] You know, so it’s really, you
know, if I were living an inordinate life I wouldn’t care, you know, I would love to
use Twitter and Facebook, and other, you know, social platforms to advertise myself, right? But, you know, I’m not in that circumstance,
and so, of course, I do use work computer and personal computer is totally separate. And in my company, we have tech team, and
that they update, as soon as they find some strange or whatever, I’m not familiar with
tech by the way, and that they just inform us, and they keep the link updated. And it’s very secure. Sometimes I think they overdo it. Of course, for cellphone I use around 10 different
apps, because they’re needed to communicate with a different group of people in different
regions, and so some apps, you know, are paid. Paid apps. And for the stories, so recently, we tried
to introduce Stealth Drive and USB, it’s patented in Korea and in the States and other countries,
so we are communicating with the company as well. Try to save, keep our information safe as
possible, and the fact, you know, I believe it’s not 100% secure. – Couple of personal tips that I’ve picked
up along the way from journalists, other activists, and so forth, and also cyber security experts
of which I am certainly not one, is of course using two factor authentication. If you don’t know what that is, please get
one, it’s worth the investment. Also, I try to stay offline, like not connected
to the Internet as often as possible, factory resetting all my devices at least once a month,
which is a pain, and also trying not to use smartphones, and just using, you know, various
old school technology. I asked some of my friends at Google, what’s
your best tip of how someone who’s in sensitive work could stay safe, and they said don’t
use the Internet. And so, I go that’s impractical, and safety
and digital security comes at a huge trade-off with convenience, and the more safe you wanna
stay, the less convenient that is, so it’s just a matter of trying to hit that balance,
I’m still learning, hacks are certainly not one of my favorite things to be a target of,
but I’ll continue to be better. – Everything they’re saying is advice for
everybody, it’s not just that you fear North Korea or Russia looking into your life through
your gadgets and your platforms, but basically, you know, anybody. Sometimes just voyeurs, doesn’t have to have
a terrible motivation, but when they do have motivation, when they have power to shut you
down, but to inseminate also false information about you, that’s pretty scary. Melissa, you were gonna say something. – No, I just actually, through my sudden knowledge
of cyber security, I actually learned that domestic violence is, much of the hacking
that happens are actually cases of partners who are trying to harm each other through
information, internal, in-home information. – And actually, one of the things as I was
sitting here, that I had hoped we might be able to open up for discussion, but we’ll
save it for the next round of Albright Institute, focus on the Koreas, but is the big quote
topic of women and gender issues in North Korea. It is a huge area of concern for a lot of
people, and again we have very little information on various aspects relating to women’s lives,
and the gendered dynamics of life for women and men in North Korea, but it’s something
to pay attention to. Some of the photos I shared with you in my
lecture this morning where women are the ones in the factories, I chose them on purpose,
hoping that you would be curious, and so one of the things that’s going on now through
the sanctions is that, because the coal, iron, ore, the major mineral resources that bring
in the big bucks for the North Korean regime are off limits, to a great extent, to a great
extent, significant extent. – It’s that light imagery again. – The garment industry that produces quite
a lot of revenues for North Korea is a very important industry, and that is, of course,
dominated by female workers. And something that I am concerned about when
we think about what’s really important regarding North Korea that’s non-nuclear, I’m really
concerned about how even if North Korea were to become a quote normal economy and a normal
society in the next decades, I really have big fears, big worries, about the gender discrimination,
violence against women, and the abuse of North Korean women by both North Koreans, South
Koreans, Chinese, Russians, Japanese, number one through sex trafficking, and the sex industry,
it’s already happening. So, this is nothing new, but I think it would
become just so widespread, and also I have a lot of concerns about how would North Korea’s
economy be able to organize itself so as not to make the kinds of mistakes, in terms of
socioeconomic discrimination, gender discrimination, that South Korea’s economy has already done,
starting in the 1950s, 60s, through its economic miracle. South Korea’s economy is top down, big corporate
entities, the small guys don’t make it, the small enterprises, medium enterprises. North Korea, so far, I’m afraid is going down
that path, because the big trading companies that are state-run, these are government officials
who run North Korea’s quasi-capitalism, they are becoming prototypes to become the Tibeh,
the big conglomerates in the future, if this were to turn into a civilian economy, and
so that has a lot of ramifications for small medium enterprises, and most women in most
societies tend to go into small, medium-size enterprises, and so I see, already, a foretelling
of a future that I don’t find very happy, even under the best circumstances, so I think
lots to think about, and whenever you read about North Korea, or around North Korean
issues, try to just go beyond the surface and do what we’re doing, trying to figure
out how do you get the information, how do you test for accuracy, how do you test for
evidence, right, versus hearsay testimony, et cetera. So, we’ll stop our portion and then open it