USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, April 25 - May 1, 2013

Table of Contents

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.**

State Department Hopes It Can Find Peace Among Data
The State Department is using cutting-edge data gathering technology to help keep the peace in some areas and keep violence from flaring in others, saving both physical and fiscal costs of conflict. CSO analyzes "large data sets" as well as "civil society" generated data -- essentially the sum of patterns, human behaviors, electronic signals, social media elements and everything tangible that creates masses of technological and non-technological data.
See the full article (CNN, Tara Kangarlou, 5/1/13)
Click to read "'Big Data,' Text Messages Can Aid, Not Drive Conflict Prevention," an Olive Branch Post by Viola Gienger.
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China Cyberspies Outwit U.S. Stealing Military Secrets
Among defense contractors, QinetiQ North America (QQ/) is known for spy-world connections and an eye- popping product line. Its contributions to national security include secret satellites, drones, and software used by U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and the Middle East. QinetiQ's espionage expertise didn't keep Chinese cyber- spies from outwitting the company.
See the full article (CNN, Michael Riley and Ben Elgin, 5/1/13)
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Who's Afraid of Cyberoptimism?
I am critical of a strain of optimism that's long been associated with the Internet, which hopes that digital technologies will expose us to opinions and perspectives from around the world and inexorably lead to increased cooperation and understanding. If we wanted to improve communication and cooperation between people in different parts of the world, we cannot naïvely hope that the Internet will solve our problems. Instead we would need to make conscious efforts to shape our tools and systems to increase intercultural communication.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Ethan Zuckerman, 4/29/13) *Foreign Policy sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Entering a Resource-shock World
Two nightmare scenarios - a global scarcity of vital resources and the onset of extreme climate change - are already beginning to converge and in the coming decades are likely to produce a tidal wave of unrest, rebellion, competition and conflict. To appreciate the power of this encroaching catastrophe, it's necessary to examine each of the forces that are combining to produce this future cataclysm.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Michael Klare, 4/28/13)
Click to read "Natural Disasters as Threats to Peace," a USIP Special Report by Frederick S. Tipson.
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U.S. Response to Bank Cyberattacks Reflects Diplomatic Caution, Vexes Bank Industry
The United States, concerned that Iran is behind a string of cyberattacks against U.S. banking sites, has considered delivering a formal warning through diplomatic channels but has not pursued the idea out of fears that doing so could escalate hostilities, according to American officials. At the same time, the officials said, the disruptive activity against the Web sites has not yet reached a level of harm that would justify a retaliatory strike.
See the full article (Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, 4/27/13)
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Is the Specter of a 'Cyber Cold War' Real?
The epidemic of cyber-burglary and trade secret theft coming out of China is leading many technology and industrial multinationals to not only ask this question but to discuss avoiding hiring Chinese scientists, engineers and executives for key positions -- or at least determine ways to isolate them from core company systems.
See the full article (Atlantic, James McGregor, 4/27/13)
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North Korea Embraces 3G Service
Almost two million North Koreans now use the country's only 3G network, reports a blog dedicated to technology news in North Korea. The service can only be used to make voice calls, and all international calls are banned. North Koreans only have access to a very limited, state-run set of internet pages.
See the full article (BBC, 4/26/13)
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Welcome to the Age of Big Drone Data
Lt. Gen. Larry D. James is the Air Force's deputy chief for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, giving him the flying service's drone portfolio. During a rare public talk yesterday in Washington, James let on that "sustainment" of the drone fleet is the human problem of managing the absolutely enormous amount of data that its Predators, Reapers, Global Hawks and Sentinels generate.
See the full article (Wired, Spencer Ackerman, 4/25/13)
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Dubai Firm Agrees $2.8 Million Fine Over Syria Sanctions-busting
A Dubai distribution company has agreed to pay a $2.8 million civil penalty for shipping embargoed U.S. devices to the Syrian government to monitor and control internet traffic. The U.S. has had a long-standing trade embargo against Syria, which is in the midst of a bloody uprising, and uproar ensued when it first emerged in 2011 that the country was using U.S. technology to monitor its own citizens.
See the full article (Reuters, 4/25/13)
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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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