Digital Surveillance in North Korea

Stimson Center & 38 North


April 16, 2024, 9:00 am EDT to 10:00 am EDT


Digital surveillance technology in North Korea is progressively evolving with widespread effects on the landscape of its society. While this digital transformation can provide more opportunities to North Korean citizens, it also increases the risks associated with growing digital footprints and the ability of the North Korean state to expand surveillance of people’s lives.

Featured Speakers

Martyn Williams is a Senior Fellow with the Stimson Center, where he works primarily with the 38 North project. His primary interests are in North Korea’s technology, infrastructure, broadcasting system and propaganda. He launched the North Korea Tech website in 2010 and has closely followed the country’s steps onto the global Internet.

Mr Williams is originally from the United Kingdom and has been based in the United States since 2011 after living for 16 years in Tokyo, Japan. He was previously a journalist for IDG News Service, a technology newswire, in both Tokyo and San Francisco and was a 2011-12 Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

He is also an author for the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and wrote “Digital Trenches: North Korea’s Information Counter-Offensive.”

Natalia Slavney (she/her) is a Research Analyst at the Stimson Center and Assistant Editor for “38 North,” a web journal that provides policy and technical analysis on North Korea. Her research experience and interests include humanitarianism and aid, international law, human rights, inter-Korean relations, US-DPRK relations, digital surveillance technology and information controls in North Korea, and the North Korean economy. Since 2019, she has conducted extensive research on individual freedoms and access to political rights and civil liberties in the two Koreas for Freedom House’s Freedom in the World Index. Her commentary and analysis have appeared in The National Interest, The Diplomat, Radio Free Asia, and 38 North. She serves as a member of the National Committee on North Korea (NCNK) and a nonresident fellow at the European Centre for North Korean Studies at the University of Vienna.

Prior to joining Stimson, she was a Graduate Student Research Assistant at the former US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and completed graduate-level coursework and independent research on North Korean escapees and human rights, as well as an internship with the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

Natalia holds a Master of Arts in International Relations and International Economics from JHU SAIS and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Asian Studies, and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Jenny Town is a Senior Fellow at the Stimson Center and the Director of Stimson’s 38 North Program. Her expertise is in North Korea, US-DPRK relations, US-ROK alliance and Northeast Asia regional security. She was named one of Worth Magazine’s “Groundbreakers 2020: 50 Women Changing the World” and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2019 for her role in co-founding and managing the 38 North website, which provides policy and technical analysis on North Korea.

Ms. Town is also an expert reviewer for Freedom House’s Freedom in the World Index, where she previously worked on the Human Rights in North Korea Project; an Associate Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a Member of the National Committee on North Korea, and an Associate Member of the Council of Korean Americans. She serves on the Editorial Board for Inkstick, an online foreign policy journal for emerging scholars.

From 2008-2018, Ms. Town served as the Assistant Director of the US-Korea Institute at SAIS. She holds a BA in East Asian Studies and International Relations from Westmar University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

View Original Invitation.