Tag Archive | Human rights

The Information Revolution Gets Political

by Joseph S. Nye, Project Syndicate, Jan 9, 2013

“… it would be a mistake to “over-learn” the lessons that the Arab revolutions have taught about information, technology, and power. While the information revolution could, in principle, reduce large states’ power and increase that of small states and non-state actors, politics and power are more complex than such technological determinism implies.

In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that computers and new means of communications would create the kind of central governmental control dramatized in George Orwell’s 1984. And, indeed, authoritarian governments in China, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere have used the new technologies to try to control information. Ironically for cyber-utopians, the electronic trails created by social networks like Twitter and Facebook sometimes make the job of the secret police easier.”

For full text of this thought provoking article, please visit The Information Revolution Gets Political by Joseph S. Nye – Project Syndicate.

 

Eyes in the sky: Remote sensing in the service of human rights

by Jonathan Drake and Eric Ashcroft, Physics today, Feb 1, 2013

If scientific endeavor has a purpose beyond the accumulation of knowledge for its own sake, it must be for the progress and betterment of humanity. Despite the incredible scientific developments that have defined the modern era, however, the ability of science to solve humankind’s most enduring problems remains elusive. Nowhere is that more apparent than in conflict-torn regions where weapons technologies, with their roots in scientific discovery, are exploited with lethal effectiveness.While technology’s power to exacerbate violence in that way is well established, its role in mitigating hostilities has often been considerably less visible. Recently, however, new natural science technologies have made it possible to take a more active role in conflict reduction and the promotion of universal human rights. One of the most powerful of those technologies is satellite imagery.

For full text of the article, visit Eyes in the sky: Remote sensing in the service of human rights | Points of View – Physics Today.

The Use of Drones for Nonviolent Civil Resistance

Follow-up op-ed by Patrick Meier, iRevolution Blog, February 18, 2012

In my [Patrick Meier’s] previous blog post on the use of drones for human rights, I also advocated for the use of drones to support nonviolent civil resistance efforts. Obviously, like the use of any technology in such contexts, doing so presents both new opportunities and obvious dangers. In this blog post, I consider the use of DIY drones in the context of civil resistance, both vis-a-vis theory and practice. While I’ve read the civil resistance literature rather widely for my dissertation, I decided to get input from two of the world’s leading experts on the topic. …

For full text of this article, visit The Use of Drones for Nonviolent Civil Resistance | iRevolution.

Drones for Human Rights

Op-ed by Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Mark Hainis, NYT, January 30, 2012

DRONES are not just for firing missiles in Pakistan. In Iraq, the State Department is using them to watch for threats to Americans. It’s time we used the revolution in military affairs to serve human rights advocacy. With drones, we could take clear pictures and videos of human rights abuses, and we could start with Syria. The need there is even more urgent now, because the Arab League’s observers suspended operations last week. …

For full text of the op-ed, visit Drones for Human Rights – NYTimes.com.

Protecting Indigenous Peoples’ Privacy from “Eyes in the Sky”

Wayne Madsen, Lead Scientist, Computer Sciences Corporation, 1994

Abstract: This paper investigates the problems associated with remote sensing from space-based platforms as they relate to the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples around the world. Many nations and international organizations recognize a right of individual privacy. This paper advances the notion of a right to collective privacy, what can best be described as a “communal right of privacy,” especially as it relates to the rights of indigenous people to be free of wanton exploitation from data on their lands and waters that are collected from orbiting surveillance and sensing platforms. Indigenous peoples argue that since they are the direct descendants of the original peoples who settled their lands before conquest by outsiders, they have an “inalienable” right to their territories and the natural resources contained therein (Nagengast, Stavenhagen, and Kearney, 1992, 31). Clearly, the sparse number of international treaties and other regimes that seek to protect the rights of indigenous people to their lands and resources must be strengthened to address privacy protections against wanton snooping from overhead surveillance satellites.

For full text of this article, which is still very relevant today, click here.

Crisis Mapping Meets Check-in

Image representing Ushahidi as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

By David Talbot, MIT Technology Review, March 28, 2011

From Libya to Japan, a Web-reporting platform called Ushahidi has helped human rights workers and others document and make sense of fast-moving crises. The platform allows reports from cell phones and Web-connected devices to be collected and displayed on Web-based maps. Now Ushahidi is adding a concept borrowed from location-based social networking, as well as layers of private access—functionality that could make the service more efficient and useful in politically charged circumstances. …

For full text of the article, visit Crisis Mapping Meets Check-in – Technology Review.

Crowd-sourced data hold potential for positive change and human rights abuses

Crowd-sourced data hold potential for positive change and human rights abuses

By Robin Lloyd, Scientific American | Feb 18, 2011 01:35 PM |

Social media has scored big successes in helping crowds to gather and communicate online to challenge oppressive regimes in recent weeks, but digital gathering places that are basically public—and the crowd-sourced data they generate—also carry risks. Crowds are forming so rapidly online—the photo-sharing app Instagram reported enrolling one million users in the past six weeks—that many platform managers fail to take full responsibility for protecting the users who post reports online, or for anticipating how the data might be abused by authorities.

For full text, visit Observations: Crowd-sourced data hold potential for positive change and human rights abuses.

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