USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, October 24 - 30, 2013

Table of Contents

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From Pakistan, Family Comes to Tell of Drone Strike’s Toll
What 13-year-old Zubair Ur Rehman remembers most about the day his grandmother was killed is how “particularly blue” the sky was in the Pakistani tribal region of North Waziristan. Yes, just as New Yorkers say of 9/11. On Tuesday morning, Zubair, 9-year-old Nabila and their father, Rafiq Ur Rehman, told a handful of lawmakers that they were deliberately attacked anyway — the first time members of Congress had heard directly from survivors of an alleged U.S. drone strike.
See the full article (Washington Post, Melinda Henneberger, 10/29/13)
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Mobile Technology to Track Missing Children in SAARC Nations
Using mobile and GPS technologies, a SAARC body is trying to develop a digital system to track missing children at the regional level and combat cross-border trafficking. "We are now seriously looking at how digital technology can be applied to control cross-border trafficking. Hopefully after 2015, we will have an integrated system based on mobile or GPS technologies which can be applied in all the eight SAARC countries," said Rinchen Chophel, director general for the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) secretariat.
See the full article (Economic Times, 10/29/13)
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‘Spy Rocks’ Could Be the Military’s New Secret Weapon
Warfare technology has come a long way since the days of throwing stones, but that won’t keep the military from incorporating rocks into their arsenal of weapons. This week at the annual AUSA Army Meeting in Washington, D.C., Lockheed Martin showcased developments in their Surveillance technology called SPAN (Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network), a “covert, perpetually self-powered wireless sensor network” that can provide “unobtrusive, continuous surveillance” in units so small they can fit in a rock.
See the full article (Wired, Allen McDuffee, 10/28/13)
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FraudCracker Seeks to Ease Fraud Whistleblowing
South African startup FraudCracker is aiming to combat fraud with its online technology solution to tackle the large amount of money lost every year through internal fraud and international fraud rings. Statistics show that on average companies lose seven per cent of their annual turnover to fraud. The product helps companies identify and combat fraud while keeping whistleblowers secure.
See the full article (Humanipo, 10/28/13)
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Officials Alert Foreign Services that Snowden has Documents on Their Cooperation with U.S.
U.S. officials are alerting some foreign intelligence services that documents detailing their secret cooperation with the United States have been obtained by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to government officials. Snowden, U.S. officials said, took tens of thousands of military intelligence documents, some of which contain sensitive material about collection programs against adversaries such as Iran, Russia and China. Some refer to operations that in some cases involve countries not publicly allied with the United States.
See the full article (Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, 10/24/13)
Click to read "Awkward: Explaining Dialogue in Libya Amid U.S. Government Shutdown" an Olive Branch Post by Colette Rausch and Christina Murtaugh.
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What’s in Your Smartphone? Blood Electronics
Arming militias in a war-torn region of Africa? There’s an app for that. By now, just about everyone has heard of blood diamonds, but you may not know their close cousins: “conflict minerals.” They include metals such as gold, tantalum, tungsten and tin, used to fuel your smartphone’s vibration mode or help maintain your camera’s battery life.
See the full article (Politico, Eric Bradner, 10/24/13)
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Secret Memos Reveal Explicit Nature of U.S., Pakistan Agreement on Drones
Despite repeatedly denouncing the CIA’s drone campaign, top officials in Pakistan’s government have for years secretly endorsed the program and routinely received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts, according to top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos obtained by The Washington Post. The files describe dozens of drone attacks in Pakis Melinda Henneberger Melinda Hennebergertan’s tribal region and include maps as well as before-and-after aerial photos of targeted compounds over a four-year stretch from late 2007 to late 2011 in which the campaign intensified dramatically.
See the full article (Washington Post, Greg Miller and Bob Woodward, 10/24/13)
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