4 key messages on humanitarian advocacy

Branka Marijan Featured, Ploughshares Monitor Leave a Comment

The latest Humanitarian Disarmament Forum was held October 19 and 20 in New York City. In attendance were civil-society groups, such as Project Ploughshares, which work on arms control and disarmament concerns that fall under the umbrella of “humanitarian disarmament.” According to the Harvard Law School Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative, humanitarian disarmament “seeks to prevent and remediate the human and environmental harm inflicted by arms through the establishment and implementation of norms.”

The use of drones by nonstate actors

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured, Ploughshares Monitor Leave a Comment

In January of this year, armed drones owned by Houthis, a Yemeni rebel group, killed several Yemeni government officials. This was the first time, as far as we know, that a nonstate group had successfully deployed a drone to carry out a precision-targeted operation. In September, the Houthis, with alleged support from Iran, were suspected in the attack on the world’s largest oil-processing facility in Saudi Arabia.

Putting controls on remote warfare to protect civilians

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured, Ploughshares Monitor Leave a Comment

Earlier this year, Amnesty International (AI) released a report, The Hidden US War in Somalia: Civilian Casualties from Air Strikes in Lower Shabelle. According to this report, which explored five incidents, at least 14 civilians had been killed by airstrikes from both manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones).

New Technologies and Conflict Escalation

Branka Marijan Featured, News

In a recent New York Times opinion piece, Glenn S. Gerstell, the general counsel for the United States National Security Agency, explains why the United States cannot afford to lose the digital revolution. He lays out the ways in which technology will transform national security threats and predicts a bleak future of constant cyberwarfare and new weapons. Gerstell rightly notes …

3 Key Takeaways from the Innovations Dialogue

Branka Marijan Featured, News

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research Innovations Dialogue held on August 19 at the UN Office in Geneva sought to address  the implications of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, blockchain, and the Internet of Things on arms control and disarmament.

What’s new in the world of autonomous weapons?

Branka Marijan Americas, Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, Europe, Featured

The call by some states and civil society for the regulation of autonomous weapons continues. But concern is also being expressed that investment and research in autonomous weapons systems are outpacing regulation. In advance of the August meetings of the Group of Governmental Experts at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), here’s an overview of recent developments. 1. The …

The “plutonium of AI”: Facial-recognition technology

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, Featured Leave a Comment

San Francisco became the first city in the United States to ban law-enforcement and government agencies from using facial-recognition technology, which identifies individuals by facial features. Civil liberties advocates hope other cities and countries will soon produce their own versions of the “Stop Secret Surveillance” ordinance.

More clarity on Canada’s views on military applications of artificial intelligence needed

Branka Marijan Americas, Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, Featured, News

Canada appears to be leading the way in the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) with a number of initiatives and guidelines intended to to ensure that AI applications are based on sound reasoning and common values. However, largely absent in its discussions of strategy and risk are military applications of AI—in particular, the growing autonomy of weapons systems. Canada …

Canada’s reluctant participation in peacekeeping in Mali: What it reveals

Branka Marijan Africa, Conventional Weapons, Defence & Human Security, Emerging Technologies, Featured, News

When Canada announced that it would not be extending its commitment to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali beyond one year, few were surprised. But many are perplexed that Canada is reportedly unwilling to consider a UN request to extend its mission until a replacement Romanian contingent arrives in October, a mere three-months extension. On April 5, a House …