USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, August 22 - 28, 2013

Table of Contents

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

Clooney: Satellite Over Sudan Curbing Fighting
Actor George Clooney says a satellite project over Sudan that he helped found has curbed violence, at least during daylight. He says "now the attacks are only happening at night or under cloud cover. So now we'll switch that up to infrared."
See the full article (AP, 8/28/13)
Click to read "Pathway to National Dialogue in Sudan," a USIP Peacebrief by Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman and Jon Temin.
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Here’s How One Hacker is Waging War on the Syrian Government
As President Obama weighed U.S. air strikes in Syria this week, a lone American hacker was waging his own attack on the Syrian government. He works a white-collar job by day, while at night he’s on the digital front lines of the civil war in Syria.
See the full article (Washington Post, Andrea Peterson, 8/28/13)
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New York Times and Twitter Struggle after Syrian Hack
The websites of the New York Times and Twitter are still suffering problems related to a damaging hack carried out on Tuesday. The newspaper and social network were hit after their domain name details were maliciously edited by hackers.
See the full article (BBC, Dave Lee, 8/28/13)
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Why Google Brought its App Store to Iran, and What it Could Mean for Syria
On Monday, Google became one of the first American companies to take advantage of newly loosened U.S. sanctions against Iran. The search giant announced that it was offering its Play store to Iranian citizens, allowing them to download free apps. But the recent easing is actually part of a longer process that doesn’t just change U.S. policy toward Iran; it also potentially touches the sanctions regime affecting other targeted states, including Syria.
See the full article (Washington Post, Brian Fung, 8/27/13)
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Outage Summer: What To Know About The Syrian Electronic Army
In the latest hacking that brought down The New York Times on Tuesday, [evidence points to] the activist group of hackers known as the Syrian Electronic Army. So what is the Syrian Electronic Army? The SEA is a group of anonymous computer hackers who support embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad. The group seems to have emerged during the rise of anti-regime protests in Syria in the spring of 2011.
See the full article (NPR, Elise Hu, 8/27/13)
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Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran
In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq's war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein's military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid, 8/26/13)
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Satellite Imagery Can Be Used to Violate Human Rights, or to Protect Them
Foreign Policy published a disturbing article revealing that the U.S. government gave satellite intelligence to Iraqi forces that helped them plan future chemical weapon offenses. But satellite imagery can also be used to increase awareness of human rights violations. Of course, satellite imagery, as with almost all technology, is neutral. The morality of its use is defined by how it is deployed and to what end.
See the full article (Washington Post, Andrea Peterson, 8/26/13)
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Surveillance Revelations Shake U.S.-German Ties
Continuing revelations, based on documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, of sweeping American digital surveillance around the world are rattling the close ties between the United States and Germany. The latest of the Snowden revelations came on Sunday, when the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel published a report that said the agency had succeeded in tapping into videoconferences at the United Nations, into the European Union’s mission to the United Nations, and into other diplomatic missions around the world.
See the full article (New York Times, Alison Smale, 8/25/13)*NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Science Diplomacy Works, But Only When It's Genuine
The Obama Administration has embraced the concept of science diplomacy as a way to bridge cultural and economic gaps between the United States and the rest of the world. This new interest in science diplomacy is at least partially explained by the nature of contemporary global problems: issues of resource distribution, climate change, and uneven economic growth can only be solved with input from science.
See the full article (Guardian, Audra J Wolfe, 8/23/13)
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Yemen's President Asks US to Share Drone Technology Amid Further Violence
A suicide car bomb killed two soldiers on Friday at a checkpoint in Yemen's south, officials said, as the country's leader made public his request to the US for drone technology to boost local efforts against militants. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi told police cadets on Thursday that the US drones have been carrying out attacks in Yemen in accordance with an agreement to combat terrorism signed by the US.
See the full article (AP, 8/23/13)
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