USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, July 14 - 20, 2011

Table of Contents

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which includes a special section on Internet and social media.**

This Live Broadcast Is Brought To You By Bambuser: Streaming Video for Activists
In the technological game of cat and mouse, where activists and governments seek to control the flow of information through digital devices, activists have a new card to play: Bambuser. As described by CEO Hans Eriksson, Bambuser is what you get if "YouTube fell in love with Skype and had a love child." Compatible with 260 mobile phone models, Bambuser allows users to broadcast live from their mobile device.
See the full article (Tech Change, Caitlin Turner, 7/20/11)
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Tech-savvy Taliban Fights War in Cyberspace
The war in Afghanistan entered cyberspace on Wednesday when the tech-savvy Taliban said their phones, email and website had been hacked to spread a false report that the movement's spiritual leader, Mullah Omar, was dead. Although the Islamist group banned television during its time in power between 1996 and 2001, its communication strategy in the decade-long war now includes a website, mobile phone text messages, emails and posts on Twitter and Facebook.
See the full article (Reuters, 7/20/11)
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Middle East Group Hopes to Bring People Together over Water
In the Middle East, where disparate communities have fought for centuries over territories linked by water, their uncertain future is aggravating political tensions. History is not on its side, but one group hopes to achieve a "blue peace" in this fragile ecosystem. Friends of the Earth Middle East is a group of Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian environmentalists that has found solidarity via shared water interests.
See the full article (Vancouver Sun, Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger, 7/18/11)
Click to read "On the Issues: Status of Israeli-Palestinian Peace," by USIP's Scott Lasensky.
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High-tech System to Track U.S. Staff on Risky Tours
The State Department is installing advanced, classified security systems in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen to monitor staff movements in those countries where moving among local populations remains dangerous, according to department budget and contract documents. The Blue Force Tracker system uses a small transmitter mounted on a vehicle, an aircraft or an individual that sends continuous signals to a Global Positioning System satellite and back to a computer in a secure command post.
See the full article (Washington Post, Walter Pincus, 7/17/11)
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As U.S. Wars Wind Down, Drones Gain New Prominence
In many ways, it's the perfect weapon for a war-weary nation that suddenly finds itself on a tight budget. Missile-armed drones are playing a greater role than ever in U.S. counter-terror operations, as President Barack Obama winds down land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington's focus expands to militant havens such as Somalia and Yemen where there are no U.S. troops permanently on the ground.
See the full article (Reuters, Warren Strobel and Tabassum Zakaria, 7/15/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming academy course "Advanced Issues in Strategic Arms Control," which will examine critical decisions in arms control and the implications for world security.
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24,000 Pentagon Files Stolen in Cyberattack
A Pentagon official says some 24,000 Department of Defense files were "lost" in March in a cyberattack on a military contractor. It may be the most damaging breach the U.S. military has seen. In a speech on the Pentagon's cyber strategy Thursday, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III didn't disclose what kind of files were stolen or who took them.
See the full article (Mashable, 7/15/11)
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Science Diplomacy: Finding Paths to Saudi-US Cooperation
Two years ago, President Barack Obama made a commitment to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries and appointed science envoys to forge meaningful partnerships in science and technology. Since then, science envoys have visited dozens of countries. One such science envoy helped establish ties between the scientific communities in the United States and Saudi Arabia.
See the full article (Arab News, James B. Smith, 7/14/11)
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Pentagon Unveils its New Cyberstrategy. Well, Some of it, Anyway.
Land. Air. Sea. Space. And now, officially, Cyber, too. The Pentagon on Thursday unveiled its first ever "Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace," officially - some say belatedly - staking out its turf in the digital realm of networks and computers, an arena that analysts say has been militarized for years.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, 7/14/11)
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