In November 2017, NED hosted a former high-ranking North Korean diplomat for a series of discussions to gain insights and observations about the world’s most secretive country. Thae Yong-ho was posted in London when he defected in 2016. During his first US visit, Thae said he believed that the North Korean system can only endure through a “reign of terror” and by blocking information about the outside world. But according to Thae, the North Korean regime is struggling as portable digital devices and easily hidden memory cards are flooding the country. Can civil society finally take root in the world’s most oppressive country?