USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 7 - 13, 2013

Table of Contents

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South Americans Face Upheaval in Deadly Water Battles
In South America, governments promote economic growth by allotting water to industry at the expense of local residents, who depend on the resource for sustenance. In Peru's Cajamarca Region, the conflict has turned deadly as residents fight for control of the water they say they need to survive.
See the full article (Bloomberg, Michael Smith, 2/13/13)
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Obama Issues Cybersecurity Order as Congress Revives Cispa
US officials have been ordered to draw up procedures to reduce the country's exposure to cybersecurity threats. President Obama warned that the country's enemies were "seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions and our air traffic control systems". The US president's executive order instructs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Nist) to work with the relevant government agencies and industry bodies to draw up standards and practices to combat cyber threats.
See the full article (BBC, 2/13/13)
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Nearly 450 British Military Drones Lost in Iraq and Afghanistan
Almost 450 drones operated by the British military have crashed, broken down or been lost in action during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last five years, figures reveal. The Ministry of Defence has disclosed for the first time the five Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems used in the conflicts and the number that have perished due to pilot error, technical faults or the undesirability of retrieving them from hostile areas.
See the full article (Guardian, Nick Hopkins, 2/12/13)
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Cyber-Gang Warfare
State-sponsored militias are coming to a server near you. Although seldom discussed, state use of cyber-militias has become a significant dynamic in international relations. As the cyber revolution has matured, cyber-militias have become the key to the most lucrative piratical strategy in history. Whether current-day militias could carry out such attacks is questionable, but with the rapid proliferation of cyber-weapons, they will likely have such a capability in the near future.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Richard B. Andres, 2/11/13) *Foreign Policy sign-up may be required to view the full article
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U.S. Drone Use Could Set Dangerous Example for Rogue Powers
Imagine if North Korea or Iran or Venezuela deployed thousands of unmanned surveillance aircraft in search of earthbound enemies, a swarm of robotic hunters armed with lethal weaponry and their governments' go-ahead to exterminate targets. It's a frightening scenario but far from an unimaginable one, given that dozens of nations now build, program and deploy their own drones.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Carol J. Williams, 2/7/13)
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Can Google Maps Make Africa Safer?
Armed with laptops and smartphones, more than a hundred young Nigerians fanned out across Nigeria's capital last week, helping to Google map their oft-forgotten, mostly avoided West African city. Oludotun Babayemi, director of MapUp for Google Abuja, said that over time, mappers could help security forces respond to sectarian violence and food crises by uploading data they gather from relatives or friends in the countryside.
See the full article (Global Post, Heather Murdock, 2/7/13)
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Could Climate Change Be Al-Qaida's Best Friend in Africa?
French troops are currently planning a swift exit from Mali, but the local government's battle with Islamist insurgents rages on. Meanwhile, the international community continues to ask itself what went wrong in a country once seen as a model for the region. But some climate analysts say they saw the civil war brewing-and, more importantly, that climate change could be an increasingly prominent factor in crises in the region.
See the full article (Slate, Abraham Riesman, 2/7/13)
Click to read "Natural Disasters as Threats to Peace," a USIP Special Report by Frederick S. Tipson.
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