USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, July 25 - 31, 2013

Table of Contents

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XKeyscore: NSA Tool Collects 'Nearly Everything a User Does on the Internet'
A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.
See the full article (Guardian, Glenn Greenwald, 7/31/13)
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Training Citizen Journalists: There's an App for That
[StoryMaker is] the first mobile tool aimed at improving the capacity of anyone to produce multimedia journalism with their mobile phone. To date, StoryMaker has been installed on approximately 1,500 devices and is helping journalists and citizen journalists in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Zimbabwe to report on events in their community.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Brian Conley, 7/31/13)
Click to read "A Killing in Tunis: Will Tunisia’s Transition Survive?" an Olive Branch Post by Daniel Brumberg and Eya Jrad.
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George Clooney Spends Nespresso Paycheck On Spy Satellite To Keep Tabs On Omar Al-Bashir
George Clooney is spending "most" of the cash he earns from appearing in commercials for Nespresso on a spy satellite aimed at Sudan. The Satellite Sentinel Project, Clooney's spy program, tracks the movements of Sudan's brutal army and attempts to warn civilians in advance of attacks.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Kia Makarechi, 7/31/13)
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If Your Government Fails, Can You Create a New One With Your Phone?
Wherever governments are in crisis, in transition, or in absentia, people are using digital media to try to improve their condition, to build new organizations, and to craft new institutional arrangements. Technology is, in a way, enabling new kinds of states.
See the full article (Atlantic, Philip N. Howard, 7/31/13)
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How Vice's Tim Pool Used Google Glass to Cover Istanbul Protests
"When there's a wall of police firing plastic bullets at you, and you're running through a wall of tear-gas, having your hands free to cover your face, while saying 'OK Glass, record a video', makes that recording process a lot… easier," says Tim Pool. Pool has been using Glass for his livestreaming coverage of recent protests in Istanbul, Cairo and Brazil for Vice in 2013, but he's been doing what he calls "mobile first-person" journalism since 2011.
See the full article (Guardian, Stuart Dredge, 7/30/13)
Click to read "Sensing and Shaping Emerging Conflicts" a Report by Andrew Robertson and Steve Olson.
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Edward Snowden's Not the Story. The Fate of the Internet Is
Edward Snowden is not the story. The story is what he has revealed about the hidden wiring of our networked world. Without Snowden, we would not be debating whether the US government should have turned surveillance into a huge, privatised business, offering data-mining contracts to private contractors.
See the full article (Guardian, John Naughton, 7/27/13)
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Cat-and-mouse in Zimbabwe's Election Cyberwar
Zimbabwe's government has blocked mass SMS bursts ahead of next week's election, hobbling a powerful source of non-official information in the tightly controlled southern African state, activists and a phone company source said on Friday. With the clock ticking to the July 31 poll, web portal said it had noticed this week that its mass text messages were mysteriously getting lost.
See the full article (Reuters, Cris Chinaka, 7/26/13)
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which includes a special section on Internet and social media.

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