USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, November 29 - December 5, 2012

Table of Contents

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

Cyberattacks in Israel and Gaza Increased After Cease Fire Declared
Cyberattacks were part of the recent deadly bombing campaign between Israel and Gaza from the beginning, as hackers aligned with both sides targeted the opposition's websites and servers. However, cybersecurity firm Cloudflare noticed something interesting when a cease-fire was declared: the fighting's focus moved from the physical space into the digital arena.
See the full article (Mashable, Alex Fitzpatrick, 12/5/12)
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Foreign Tech Companies Pitched Real-time Surveillance Gear to Iran
A Reuters investigation has uncovered new evidence of how willing some foreign companies were to assist Iran's state security network, and the regime's keenness to access as much information as possible. The relative ease with which Iran has been able to obtain technology that enables surveillance illustrates the cat-and-mouse nature of the American-European campaign to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions through crippling economic sanctions.
See the full article (Reuters, Steve Stecklow, 12/5/12)
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Book Says 'Big Data' Becoming a Global Nervous System
"Big data" is a label affixed by software engineers, computer scientists, and social scientists, a description of the revolutionary ability to detect, corral and compare data on scales few even dreamed possible at the beginning of the century. Big data have helped spawn revolutions in Libya and Egypt; created showdowns between global governments and the website Wikileaks; and made Facebook and Google into global forces, bigger than many governments.
See the full article (USA TODAY, Chuck Raasch, 12/4/12)
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Iran: We Captured Another U.S. Drone
Iran has captured another U.S. drone, the country's state-run Fars news agency reported overnight. Ali Fadavi, commander of the naval branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, told Press TV that the Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle was conducting a reconnaissance flight over the Persian Gulf when it entered Iranian air space and was captured. Fadavi's claim, and the Iranian footage, could be bunk. Cmdr. Jason Salata, a Navy spokesman, told the AP that all U.S. drones were "fully accounted for."
See the full article (Wired, David Axe, 12/4/12)
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The Cell Phone in War
How are fighting, killing, and controlling territory different when you can call your brother after battle, post a photo of your squadron on the march to Facebook, or play Angry Birds between skirmishes? Even as the war in Syria rages, large areas of the countryside have cellular phone coverage, and the fighters are constantly checking their phones. When they stop, many of them immediately look for ways to recharge their phone batteries. And, often as they move and enter an area with a strong signal, they commence texting back and forth.
See the full article (Atlantic, Alexis C. Madrigal, 12/4/12)
Click to read "Enabling Agricultural Extension for Peacebuilding" a USIP Special Report by Andrew Robertson.
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Sudan: Group Says Images Show Burned Villages
The Satellite Sentinel Project said Friday that the images show that the government of Sudan deliberately burned 13 villages in the war-torn border region of South Kordofan from Nov. 17-22. John Bradshaw, executive director of the advocacy group the Enough Project that supports the satellite program, said the images are visual proof that Sudan is violating the laws of war and carrying out indiscriminate attacks.
See the full article (AP, 12/1/12)
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Hostile States Using Cyberwarfare to Attack UK Infrastructure
Hostile foreign states have used cyberwarfare to attack and map the networks that are part of the [UK's] critical national infrastructure, the government has admitted. Though officials refused to say what had been hit, the systems that provide the UK with its gas, water, and electricity supplies are all likely to have been targeted, raising the stakes in the battle to stop foreign powers, criminals and hackers from stealing information.
See the full article (Guardian, Nick Hopkins, 12/2/12)
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Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Hearing to use Google Plus's Hangout Feature
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's subpanel on African affairs is going high-tech during a hearing on Wednesday by using Google's video chat feature, Hangout, to let a representative from a non-governmental organization based in Mali testify before lawmakers. The subpanel's hearing will examine al Qaeda's growing presence in northern Mali and how the United States is handling the terrorist group's expansion into the region.
See the full article (The Hill, Jennifer Martinez, 12/4/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "The Business Case for Sustained Peace" on December 7 at 10:00am.
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Mine Kafon: The Low-tech, High-design Tumbleweed Minesweeper
An Afghan designer and former refugee has developed a low-cost, wind-powered mine detonating device inspired by the toys he played with as a child. "One of them was a little rolling object that was carried by the wind," he recalled. "We would race them against each other in the local fields. Sometimes, due to the presence of landmines, they would roll off into places that we weren't permitted to go." According to the U.N., there are more than 110 million active mines scattered across 70 countries.
See the full article (CNN, George Webster, 11/29/12)
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Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.

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