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.
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.
As cited in the blog Ogle Earth on April 19, 2009:
By Theodore May
First Published: April 6, 2009
CAIRO: Egypt announced this week that it would allow the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, ending a ban that had meant that certain mobile phones could not be sold in the country. The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) lifted the ban, meaning that now only two countries on earth, Syria and North Korea, still forbid the use of GPS. In addition to allowing Egyptians greater access to GPS technologies and the products (phones and cars) that provide them, the ruling is expected to spur business in the telecom and auto sectors. Egyptian traders will now be permitted to import cars and mobile phones that have the technology, and manufacturers in the country will be allowed to make and export those products too.
The NTRA, however, will continue to monitor and control manufacturing of the devices. Phones and computers with GPS may only be exported “provided that NTRA authorizes the type of machines based on its criteria and procedures,” the NTRA said in a statement on its website Saturday.
Despite lifting the ban on GPS, the NTRA said that the use of a similar technology, Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems, will only be permitted with its expressed consent. NTRA officials had told Daily News Egypt late last year that the ban on GPS devices was in place as a result of security concerns. Whether those security concerns were overcome or whether the NTRA was simply adapting to the times remains unclear. Egyptians have long used technologies like Google Earth to skirt the ban. In addition, GPS technologies had long bled into Egypt through the black market.
The NTRA’s ruling may have been part of an effort to bring the use of GPS into the legal fold so that it might control the use of the technology. There were reports throughout last year that leading mobile phone provider Nokia had been in pitched negotiations with the Egyptian government to allow GPS, which it provides on roughly 40 percent of its phones, but the government wouldn’t budge.
For full text of the story, visit: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=20865
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 109
November 10, 2008
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
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COMMERCIAL SATELLITE IMAGERY SHEDS LIGHT HERE AND THERE
As the quality and availability of commercial satellite imagery continue to improve, the technology is adding a new dimension to public understanding of world events, while both enhancing and challenging national and global security.
“Last month, the most powerful commercial satellite in history sent its first pictures back to Earth, and another with similar capabilities is set for launch in mid-2009,” wrote Peter Eisler in USA Today last week. “The imagery provided by those and other commercial satellites has transformed global security in fundamental ways, forcing even the most powerful nations to hide facilities and activities that are visible not only to rival nations, but even to their own citizens.” See “Google Earth helps yet worries government,” November 7.
Iraqi insurgents, among other non-state actors, have also taken advantage of the new capabilities offered by satellite imagery. A 2006 dispatch prepared by the DNI Open Source Center (first reported by USA Today) documented “the use of Google Earth for tactical planning of rocket attacks against U.S. military targets in Iraq.” See “Iraqi Insurgency Group Utilizes Google Earth for Attack Planning,” July 19, 2006.
A newly disclosed GeoEye commercial satellite image of the site of a suspected Syrian nuclear facility at Al Kibar that was taken on November 23, 2007, some two months after it was bombed by Israel on September 6, 2007, shows rather rapid reconstruction of the destroyed facility.
“I’d say it confirms that the Syrians were in a really big hurry to get the site covered up,” said Allen Thomson, a former CIA analyst who has studied the case. “The previously available DigitalGlobe picture of 24 October 2007 showed only a mound of dirt. By a month later (the GeoEye pic), what appears to be a thick slab (you can see that it casts a shadow) was in place. And January 11 imagery shows the new building up and the roof in place.”
The new image was released last week courtesy of GeoEye / Space Imaging Middle East. It appears on page 1170 of an extensive open source compilation (large pdf) on the Israeli Strike in Syria prepared by Mr. Thomson.