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09:30-10:30 Session 4: Keynote: From Bytes to Action: the Promise and Perils of Digital Technologies in Combating Corruption Worldwide, by Prof. Dr. Alice Mattoni (University of Bologna, Political Sciences, Social Movement)

Through compelling real-world case studies and stories of anti-corruption activism from around the world, the talk sheds light on how grassroots movements are using digital technologies to promote integrity in their societies and pave the way for a more accountable world. It explores the transformative potential of digital technologies in the grassroots fight against corruption. It presents a typology of anti-corruption technologies, discusses their opportunities and examines the challenges they pose to civil society organisations. It also analyses their impact on democracy and civic engagement, highlighting the democratic ideals embedded in these technologies and their role in redefining citizenship and promoting active participation in society.

11:00-12:00 Session 5A: Presentation Session I (Nuclear Arms Control)
A deep learning approach for safeguards-relevant change detection by combining Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 images

ABSTRACT. Earth observation through satellite imagery has historically played a unique role for the implementation and verification of nuclear non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament treaties. Nowadays, huge volume of satellite images, including different Earth Observation mission data made available, inter alia, by the European Copernicus program Copernicus, are constantly acquired. With the development and implementation of deep learning algorithms in change detection, many of these existing models have been designed to process optical imagery. Although, several studies have shown that synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, e.g., provided by Sentinel-1, also contains unique information about image features and is less affected by weather and atmospheric conditions.

Since labeled data is scarce and expensive to produce, we propose an unsupervised framework which uses optical and SAR images jointly to achieve to detect generic but relevant changes of nuclear related fuel sites. The framework is composed of three modules. The first one is extracting the bands of interest and resampling them to the same spatial resolution. Then all images are co-registered and sorted chronologically. The last module computes pairwise change detection maps of the time-series. Therefore, features are extracted separately to efficiently use information from both data sources using an unsupervised approach based on stacked autoencoders. By reconstructing the image from a compressed representation, the network is forced to capture the main features of the image. Finally, the features are then combined by convolutional operations.

By applying this methodology, the accuracy of change detection can be improved and could therefore add a big value in the safeguard’s verification process.

Irreversibility of Nuclear Disarmament: long-term, latency-based approaches for monitoring and risk management

ABSTRACT. Irreversibility in the context of nuclear disarmament has been acknowledged as a continuum rather than a state of disarmament with no possibility of reversal. Identifying what factors contribute to the ‘degrees’ on the continuum of irreversibility, and the practical ways to implement irreversibility measures in the context of a nuclear disarmament or denuclearization campaign remains understudied.

This paper will reframe the concept of irreversibility in nuclear disarmament and denuclearization to focus on long-term management and monitoring of states’ latent nuclear capabilities and their associated risks. To do so, the paper will leverage existing understandings of nuclear latency to bring into focus how states approach – and potentially cross – the threshold of producing nuclear weapons.

The proposed framing aims to open up the concept of irreversibility to analysis using practical, actionable categories such as risk, latent capability, and, possibly, signals of intent. This approach would shift discussions on how to achieve irreversibility in nuclear disarmament and denuclearization from the broader goal of “making rearmament impossible” to more defined and pragmatic goals of increasing both the cost – in both time and resources – and the probability of detection of any attempt to pursue rearmament.

Reconstructing nuclear histories – a field study

ABSTRACT. Reconstructing how much fissile material was produced in nuclear facilities could become a key element in the verification of future arms control or disarmament agreements. The past production of plutonium can be modeled with reactor simulations, using information on both reactor design and operating history. That information is typically provided by the inspected state and must be independently verified. In a first step, the available documentation of the reactor program can be thoroughly examined, for instance by studying its self-consistency. In a second step, forensic measurements, e.g., of samples from inside the reactor core, can be used to verify the documentation. For both these methods, questions remain, especially related to the practical application: How can one handle the potentially large amount of archived operating-history documentation? How to deal with gaps in the documentation? How can the document analysis be effectively combined with forensic measurements? To answer those questions, systematic approaches need to be developed.

We explore a real-world scenario with the former nuclear research program from Karlsruhe, Germany, for which we gained access to the archives containing documentation of the operational histories and facility designs. The nuclear research program included a pilot reprocessing plant and the heavy water reactors FR-II and MZFR, which were operated between 1961 and 1984. While the program was used for civilian purposes only, the fact that the reactors were moderated by heavy water makes them ideal candidates for this study as this type of reactor is elsewhere used to produce plutonium. This presentation will show first results on how the documentation of a past nuclear reactor program can be used to develop and test approaches to nuclear archaeology.

11:00-12:00 Session 5B: Presentation Session II (Geopolitics of Infrastructures)
Critical Energy Infrastructures: geopolitical vulnerabilities and strategies of securitization

ABSTRACT. The protection of Critical Energy Infrastructures (CEI) represents a key priority for both global energy suppliers and consumers in order to preserve the energy security condition, namely “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price”. As a matter of fact, the high relevance of energy in the global economy, CEI infrastructures have progressively become an attractive target for terrorist attacks – both physical and cyber attacks – aimed at provoking energy disruptions and economic damages, highlighting the condition of high vulnerability of the affected country in security terms. In the last years, mainly Middle East producers and Ukraine have suffered terrorist attacks aimed to destroy CEI, but all CEI - included the RES-based infrastructures such as solar plants, wind farms and hydrogen industries which will be the cornerstone of the energy transition - represent a vulnerable asset which is necessary to protect in order to preserve the geopolitical stability based on a condition of energy security without disruptions. Nuclear power plants have the added security value to be target for radionuclear terrorist attacks, beside the energy supply chain's disruption. The main aim of this proposal is to evaluate the existing threats to CEI and how efficiently prevent, contain and downplay the negative impact on the global energy security: considering the sharing interest of both energy suppliers and consumers to preserve the regularity of the energy flows to the markets, a joint engagement which could be profitable to improve the security conditions and to avoid dangerous geopolitical unbalances.

Solar geopolitics - the shining rise of India

ABSTRACT. For the last decade, India has witnessed a massive increase in renewable energy development, particularly in solar photovoltaics. The country has not only a massive theoretical capacity of 748 GW, but it has already installed more than 64 GW (https://mnre.gov.in/the-ministry/physical-progress). This is short of its 100 GW goal that it had hoped to achieve by the end of 2022, but compared to other developing countries and considering that the initial goal of 2022 was 20 GW, the growth in solar is enormous. The size of installations ranges from millions of solar lanterns and solar cookers for rural households to rooftops for urban areas and large solar parks that provide power for household as well as industrial use. The growing social science literature on India’s renewable energy policies has primarily focused on the economics of solar, development impacts, policy designs, and implementation issues such as equity and justice. Also, land availability has recently become a hot topic due to trade-offs between solar power and primarily agricultural use. Except for some economists who have lamented the dependence of India on Chinese products, the academic debate on India’s solar power development has treated the issue as a purely domestic story. Our paper argues that there is also a story of foreign policy to be told and thus takes a geopolitical perspective on the shining rise of solar in India. Geopolitical analyses of renewable energies have so far had a very Eurocentric perspective dealing with issues of the dependence of the West on critical raw materials from China or the competitive subsidies for renewables in the EU and the US. Some have also taken a more critical geopolitical perspective analyzing ideological elements of the growth in renewables. These insights can also help to understand the situation in India and will thus be taken up for analyzing the Indian solar revolution. We focus mainly on the competition with China, as India’s solar ambition and policy have – so we argue – been inspired by China being a first mover in the region.

What drives state-led Internet shutdowns? Utilizing a machine learning approach for prediction and factor exploration

ABSTRACT. With the often-cited rise of digital authoritarianism, the popularity of targeted surveillance as well as censorship techniques such as blocking websites, throttling bandwidth, and deep packet inspection has skyrocketed. The most extreme form of censorship is the so-called Internet shutdown or kill-switch, mostly observed in conjunction with human rights violations. In the last years, the numbers of such Internet shutdowns and of countries deploying those have been steadily growing, especially on the African continent. Their far-reaching impact on civil society requires a better understanding of and preparation for this form of political violence. Although a common phenomenon noticed to accompany intra-state conflicts, elections, and protests, we know comparatively little about the driving factors of Internet shutdowns, let alone about how to foresee this form of digital repression. Therefore, this study asks two questions: How can the deployment of Internet shutdowns be predicted? And which factors are most important in doing so? This is the first paper to forecast Internet shutdowns. To do so, I synthesize existing research into a conceptual framework which comprises two levels, a structural and a dynamic model to explain Internet shutdown deployment in Africa. Having collected over 100 predictors, I train a random forest algorithm to evaluate prediction capacity and derive the most important factors for Internet shutdown forecasts. The country-week level dataset entails dynamic variables such as protest, elections, and violent conflict as well as structural factors, like economic, political, and demographic aspects of a country. Data on Internet shutdowns comes from the #KeepItOn coalition published by Access Now. First results show that pure event-based and pure structural models perform less well in predicting Internet shutdown onset than a joint model. It is a specific combination of event-based and structural variables that explain most of the model’s variance. Among those are Internet censorship practices, violent protests, elections, academic surveillance, and population size. These findings outline avenues for future research on causal links between single factors and the deployment of Internet shutdowns. This study thus contributes to further theory-building in the wide research area of digital authoritarianism and, more specifically, in the field of Internet shutdowns and censorship practices.

13:30-14:30 Session 6A: Presentation Session III (Autonomous Systems and Human-Machine Interaction)
Human augmentation or augmented machines? Military paradigms and the problem of the unmanned/manned dichotomy in AI-assisted technologies

ABSTRACT. The ideas of network-centric warfare, cyber and information warfare, human-machine teaming in combat, the enhanced soldier (with the “Infanterist der Zukunft” being the German army rendition of this concept) and autonomous weapons are among the latest military development goals. They are tied to larger strategy- and technology-related paradigms, which are often strongly calibrated along the lines of machine agency, human control and the unmanned/manned dichotomy. Yet, recent debates on how developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics and automation are bound to fundamentally change military practices and future warfare tend to overlook or downplay the deep entanglement of autonomous (weapon) systems with the (long-standing) idea of human augmentation.

As will be argued, the military paradigm of augmentation and the subsequent technological developments call into question the seemingly self-evident dichotomy of manned/unmanned systems. In order to establish an approach that rethinks the role of the human (agent) in human/machine interactions, we will give a brief overview over existing discussions of human-computer-interaction in the context of cognitive anthropology and media theory. Important theories and terminologies like, among others, "distributed cognition" (Hutchins) will be explained within the context of an approach which focusses primarily on the issue of interfaces as media and relays for the distribution of agency between human and machine actors. Providing insights for further research with theoretical frameworks like actor-network theory or systems theory this shift in understanding of the sociotechnical relationship presents a new perspective on questions of regulation and control of said weapons systems.

Unveiling the Hidden Bias: Examining Intersectional Discrimination in Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems and its Consideration during Arms Control Talks

ABSTRACT. The development of lethal (semi-)autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) is increasingly gaining momentum and the topic has been discussed between member states, civil society and experts in the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on LAWS within the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons since 2013. While the debate initially focused on definitional issues of LAWS, the forum is currently dominated by technical and legal issues, which is also reflected in the corresponding academic discourse. On the other hand, civil society actors have also significantly influenced the debate, not least the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which was instrumental in initiating the negotiation framework. One of the central strands of argumentation of these civil society actors focuses on an intersectional perspective that, among other things, draws attention to biases in technologies and applications, and seeks to introduce and strengthen these perspectives in the GGE on LAWS. Analysis of over 50 GGE documents and interviews with several experts show that - with regard to intersectionality - especially the concepts of gender and race are taken into account in the GGE discussions, albeit with only little weight. However, NGOs were able to influence the overall debate and introduce new topics by linking to more established discourses in the debate, such as legal or technical discourses.

Stopping "killer robots": Cross-national experimental evidence on the relative strength of pro-regulation arguments

ABSTRACT. The advent of autonomous weapons, also known as "killer robots", presents one of the most significant and controversial developments in contemporary military affairs. Previous studies suggest that there is considerable public opposition to these weapon systems, but our knowledge of what is driving these unfavorable attitudes remains limited. This poses a challenge for policymakers and disarmament advocates seeking to mobilize the public in favor of regulatory measures. Experts use a variety of arguments, including those based on the unethical nature of autonomous weapons, their negative implications for international security, problems with compliance with international humanitarian law, and technical limitations. At present, however, we do not know which of these arguments is most convincing to the public. This paper aims to explore cross-national differences in the perceived persuasiveness of various arguments in favor of regulating autonomous weapons through an experimental survey. To explore these differences, we will randomly assign our respondents to one of the commonly used ethical, security, legal, or technical arguments and then ask them how much they approve or disapprove of preventive regulation of autonomous weapons. The results can help policy-makers and disarmament advocates in crafting more effective pro-regulation messaging.

13:30-14:30 Session 6B: Presentation Session IV (Civilian Infrastructure and Protest)
Civil Protection in a State-Centric Risk Culture - The Role of Warning Apps in Germany

ABSTRACT. Warning apps offer a mobile crisis alert system with access to multi-media content, reliable agency information and options for personalization (Hauri et al., 2022; Reuter & Kaufhold, 2018). These apps aim to ensure situational awareness during crises and provide preventive and response advice. In contrast to everyday applications that are also used in crises (Tan et al., 2017), warning apps are specifically designed for disaster purposes and have specific design requirements, geared at simplicity, trustworthiness, timeliness and reliability (Bonaretti & Fischer, 2021; Tan et al., 2020).  Despite their potential, low usage numbers across European countries (Hauri et al., 2022) indicate a lack of awareness or prioritisation, especially since warning apps are generally regarded as important and useful (Haunschild et al., 2022; Kaufhold et al., 2020). Regarding the individual contribution to crisis preparedness, Germany is repeatedly found to be an intriguing case where a general interest in crisis information can be found, while the readiness to prepare for disasters is low. Even though less than 90% of Germans feel informed or very informed about disasters and less than 80% feel prepared or well prepared, only 21% plan to prepare quite a lot or a lot (Appleby-Arnold & Brockdorff, 2018). Research indicates that in Germany, this may be due to a state-centric risk culture, in which people feel that the state takes care of emergency management and personal responsibility for preparedness is therefore small (Cornia et al., 2016; Reuter & Kaufhold, 2018). The analysis of German warning apps indicates that state agencies are fostering this state-centric risk culture. Here, preparedness information is side-lined and relegated to a non-interactive menu item. Topics and functions related to security are largely neglected. The presentation shows the state of research on warning apps and potentials for enhancing their utility for citizens and for security related crises. First, the results of representative and qualitative surveys, and usage trends over time are presented. Then, strategies for enhancing the usefulness of warning apps and increasing usage and results from experiments are shown. Finally, further potentials for enhancing the use of warning apps are discussed, with reference to the Finnish warning app and the Ukrainian app Diia, which has taken on unforeseen functions during the war. Overall, this research sheds light on the potential of warning apps for civil protection and crisis preparedness, providing valuable insights for their future development and implementation.

Appleby-Arnold, S., & Brockdorff, N. (2018). Culture and disaster risk management—Synthesis of citizens’ reactions and opinions during 6 Citizen Summits: Romania, Malta, Italy, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands. CARISMAND Report.

Bonaretti, D., & Fischer, D. (2021). Timeliness, trustworthiness, and situational awareness: Three design goals for warning with emergency apps. Forty-Second International Conference on Information Systems, 1–17.

Cornia, A., Dressel, K., & Pfeil, P. (2016). Risk cultures and dominant approaches towards disasters in seven European countries. Journal of Risk Research, 19(3), 288–304. https://doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2014.961520

Haunschild, J., Kaufhold, M.-A., & Reuter, C. (2022). Perceptions and Use of Warning Apps—Did Recent Crises Lead to Changes in Germany? Proceedings of Mensch Und Computer 2022, 25–40. https://doi.org/10.1145/3543758.3543770

Hauri, A., Kohler, K., & Scharte, B. (2022). A comparative assessment of mobile device-based multi-hazard warnings: Saving lives through public alerts in Europe. Risk and resilience Report, Center for Security Studies. https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000533908

Kaufhold, M.-A., Haunschild, J., & Reuter, C. (2020). Warning the public: A survey on attitudes, expectations and use of mobile crisis apps in Germany. Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). http://www.peasec.de/paper/2020/2020%5FKaufholdHaunschildReuter%5FWarningthePublic%5FECIS.pdf

Reuter, C., & Kaufhold, M.-A. (2018). Fifteen years of social media in emergencies: A retrospective review and future directions for crisis informatics. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management (JCCM), 26(1), 41–57. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5973.12196

Tan, M. L., Prasanna, R., Stock, K., Doyle, E. E. H., Leonard, G., & Johnston, D. (2020). Modified usability framework for disaster apps: A qualitative thematic analysis of user reviews. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 11(5), 615–629. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13753-020-00282-x

Tan, M. L., Prasanna, R., Stock, K., Hudson-Doyle, E., Leonard, G., & Johnston, D. (2017). Mobile applications in crisis informatics literature: A systematic review. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 24, 297–311. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2017.06.009


Protest and technology in the national strike of 2021 in Cali, Colombia through an intersectional perspective

ABSTRACT. Long, massive, peaceful and violent demonstrations occurred between April and June, 2021 in Colombia. At the beginning, they were organized by university students, unions and social organizations who opposed draft bills that were against impoverished people because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the first mobilizations, reasons and people who went to the streets changed: it was against police violence and besides organizations, young people who have never mobilized nor organized came to the streets. Cali was the core of the violent protests and technology supported demonstrators or sabotaged mobilizations. Then women and LGBTIQ+ persons of Cali spread a wide range of objects to protest in the streets for a long time period.

Consequently, these questions guide the research: how women and LGBTIQ+ persons used technology to protest? What is the meaning and significance of technology during peaceful and violent protests? How technology was stored or discarded after the national strike ended? How has the​ behavior of activists changed since the strike ended?

Technology is understood within a broader and historical perspective: as an artifact created by specific people, with a material expression, which innovates, creates, substitutes or disseminates a previous idea or knowledge and has a political program. The main hypothesis is that artifacts used to protest require a political and empirical knowledge; after ​technologies have been used, stored or discarded, they transform​ women and LGBTIQ+ persons, especially those who have never mobilized. This understanding is in contrast to research that focuses on​ protests in social media, technological infrastructure, the quantity and quality of protests in regards to democracy or the (re)creation of memory places by demonstrators. On the other hand, research about social movements only considers people who belong to them and women as political subjects.

Questions and hypotheses will be answered and supported with a qualitative approach through interviews, objects and bibliography review. This triangulation will help to understand perspectives in tension due to violent and peaceful protests. Black, trans women, lesbian women and gay men who protested in favor of the national strike or against the police violence will be considered as key subjects of this historical time.

Inside China‘s Cyber System – Ambitions, Actors, Instruments

ABSTRACT. China's increasing influence is having a profound impact on global security and democracy (Stoltenberg, 2022): The U.S. National Security Strategy identifies China as a systemic rival in the context of strategic competition (White House, 2022a). At this time, Germany is working on a new China strategy - it is suspected that the tone toward China will become more critical. Currently, however, depending on the policy area, China is simultaneously a cooperation partner, negotiating partner, economic competitor, and systemic rival for European countries (European Commission, 2019).

In the digital era, geopolitical conflicts are shifting to cyberspace. Consequently, new technologies and the digital realm have become a significant arena of competition between the United States and China as major world powers, as exemplified by the U.S. "Chips Act" (White House, 2022b). Technology is no longer merely a domain of opportunities and possibilities; it has evolved into a "battleground for control, values, and influence" (Gallardo/Fleming, 2022).

In President Xi's vision for China, cyberspace plays an essential strategic role: China aspires to become a cyber (great) power and to take technological leadership (Creemers, 2021; Voo/Creemers, 2021; Rühlig et al., 2022). The ambitions in this context span over the full spectrum of political, economic, and social issues, motivated by a variety of reasons (Chang, 2014). To achieve these objectives, China employs various strategies: Technological standardization and dominance in new technologies, e.g., AI and 5G, are strategically instrumentalized, to influence actors and promote international norms that serve Chinas interests (Fischione et al., 2022; Björk/Rühlig, 2022). In addition, technological self-reliance is sought to minimize own vulnerabilities (Cary, 2021). Various global platforms, including the UN, as well as major economic projects, such as the "digital silk road," also serve as venues to expand one's own influence and promote alternative narratives to foster a more China-centric global digital order (Dekker/Okano-Heijmans, 2022; Creemers, 2020). This vision, which is based on a state-centric, westphalian understanding of sovereignty in cyberspace, contrasts with the currently dominant Western notion of a free Internet (Creemers, 2020). All this is supported by strong political will and extensive institutional restructuring in the cyber governance landscape (Creemers, 2021; Chang, 2014).

Gaining a comprehensive understanding of cyberspace developments is imperative for informed policy-making e.g., for the continued organization of a coherent international cyber diplomacy, which is central to protecting and strengthening Europe's digital sovereignty. In this context, China represents a pivotal actor with the potential to disrupt the current international order and stability in cyberspace. However, there is a significant knowledge gap concerning Chinese cyber policy. Therefore, it is crucial to identify and comprehend China's aspirations in cyberspace, fostering dialogue and knowledge sharing on this topic. This presentation seeks to shed light on China's cyber system by providing an overview of its ambitions in cyberspace, the motivations driving them, and the different strategies, means, structures, and stakeholders involved in this system.

Björk, M. & Rühlig, T. (2022): Power competition and China’s technical standardization. In: Rühlig, T. (2022): China’s Digital Power. Assessing the Implications for the EU. In: Rühlig, T. (Ed.). China’s Digital Power Assessing the Implications for the EU. Berlin: CDP. / Cary, D. (2019): China’s National Cybersecurity Center. A Base for Military-Civil Fusion in the Cyber Domain. Washington: CSET. / Chang, A. (2014): Warring State China’s Cybersecurity Strategy. Washington: Center for a New American Security.  / Creemers, R. (2021): China’s Cyber Governance Institutions. Leiden: Universiteit Leiden. / Creemers, R. (2020): China’s Approach to Cyber Sovereignty. Berlin: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. / Dekker, B. & Okano-Heijmans, A. (2022):  Projecting digital power internationally: Europe’s digital China challenge. In: Rühlig, T. (Ed.). China’s Digital Power Assessing the Implications for the EU. Berlin: CDP. / European Commission (2019): EU-China – A strategic outlook. Brussel: European Commission. / Fischione, C.; van der Lugt, S. & van der Putten, F.-P. (2022): AI and IoT Developments in China and the Relevance for EU Policy – a scoping study. In: Rühlig, T. (Ed.). China’s Digital Power Assessing the Implications for the EU. Berlin: CDP. / Gallardo, C. (2022): UK spy chief: Britain must invest more to counter China’s tech dominance. Online: https://www.politico.eu/article/uk-must-invest-more-to-see-off-chinas-tech-dominance-spy-chief-says/utm_source=blognotification&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Blog%20Post%20Notification%20Net%20Politics&utm_term=NetPolitics (last accessed: 3.3.2023). / Voo, J. & Creemers, R. (2021): China’s Role in Digital Standards for Emerging Technologies – Impacts on the Netherlands and Europe. Leiden: Universiteit Leiden. / White House (2022a): National Security Strategy. Washington: White House.  /White House (2022b): FACT SHEET: CHIPS and Science Act Will Lower Costs, Create Jobs, Strengthen Supply Chains, and Counter China. Online: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/09/fact-sheet-chips-and-science-act-will-lower-costs-create-jobs-strengthen-supply-chains-and-counter-china/ (last accessed: 3.3.2023).

14:30-16:00 Session 7: Coffee Break and Poster Session
Unmasking Digital Threats in the Pursuit of Human Rights and Environmental Defense in La Guajira and Cesar, North Colombia
PRESENTER: Laura Guntrum

ABSTRACT. During decades of armed conflict between guerrillas, state armed forces, and paramilitaries in Colombia, minimal attention has been paid to the protection of digital rights. Furthermore, it is reported that during the armed conflict a surveillance apparatus to spy on citizens without judicial order was set up in Colombia (Erb, 2019).

This paper investigates the alarming (digital) human rights violations committed against social leaders in La Guajira and Cesar, North Colombia, who advocate for human rights and against environmental destruction caused by, amongst others, one of the biggest coal mines in Latin America (El Cerrejón) and numerous wind farms (Osorio García de Oteyza et al., 2021; Schwartz, 2020). According to Villalba (2021) in the national newspaper El Espectador, “threats are part of the daily life of social leaders in Colombia. And social networks and instant messaging services have also been a channel used by violent individuals to intimidate communities”. Based on qualitative interviews, the paper examines how digital threats are perceived by social leaders and whether and how digital security issues contribute to further violence. The research findings reveal that digital violence and digital death threats through (WhatsApp) calls, Facebook (Messenger), and SMS are prevalent in the region and are likely attributed to a variety of actors, including illegal armed groups and private companies operating in the region. In addition, social leaders encounter further challenges arising from internal divisions within their communities, exemplified by digital threats posed against them by own community members. In reaction, certain measures, like refraining from sharing their live location, are being implemented. However, secure applications such as Signal are seldomly used, confirming the overall perception that digital security issues play a predominantly subordinate role in their defense. Besides digital threats, numerous leaders experience that their accounts are being hacked, and they also often experience hate speech through social media platforms. Additionally, there is a pervasive sense of digital surveillance, adding to the challenges they encounter while using information and communication technologies (ICTs) for their defense.

The interviews reveal that while the majority of social leaders maintain their own security protocols, these protocols often neglect to adequately address the risks posed in the digital realm. The paper underscores the importance of equipping social leaders with the necessary knowledge and resources to effectively use ICTs in a secure manner. Furthermore, ensuring the availability of user-friendly, secure, and offline applications that can function efficiently in areas with limited connectivity is of high importance. The precarious nature of connectivity, particularly in rural parts of the region, accentuates the need for adaptive and resilient ICT solutions. This highlights the approach required to strengthen the crucial work of promoting human rights and environmental defense in this field, by empowering social leaders with the necessary expertise and access to suitable ICTs.


Erb, S. (2019, February 26). Colombia’s sprawling spy network a threat to freedom. DW Akademie. https://akademie.dw.com/en/colombias-sprawling-spy-network-a-threat-to-freedom/a-47691828

Osorio García de Oteyza, M., Estupiñán Estupiñán, Ó. J., & Fuentes-Lara, M. C. (2021). Retos de paz y derechos humanos en la comunidad Wayúu en la Alta Guajira (Colombia). Revista de Paz y Conflictos, 13(2), 25–51. https://doi.org/10.30827/revpaz.v13i2.11247

Schwartz, S. (2020). Wind extraction? Gifts, reciprocity, and renewability in Colombia’s energy frontier. Economic Anthropology, 8(1), 116–132. https://doi.org/10.1002/sea2.12192

Villalba, V. C. (2021). Lo bueno, lo malo y lo feo de las redes sociales para los y las líderes en Colombia | EL ESPECTADOR. https://www.elespectador.com/colombia-20/paz-y-memoria/lo-bueno-lo-malo-y-lo-feo-de-las-redes-sociales-para-los-y-las-lideres-en-colombia-article/

NewSpace and proliferation risks – mapping the regulation of commercial space activities

ABSTRACT. The dual-use character of many space technologies and concerns over the trade in such technologies are not new. However, with the rise of the NewSpace industry the range of possible missile proliferation risks has broadened. A multitude of new private actors are emerging in a growing number of countries, often with a lack of awareness about the regulatory environment in place, and resulting gaps in their compliance procedures which could be exploited. Recent technological developments in the space industry also increase proliferation risks, not least due to the growing similarities between small and micro launchers and ballistic missiles.

The global regulation of NewSpace industry activities is essential to address these proliferation risks. It takes place in part through international space treaties, which establish legally-binding obligations for States parties to take responsibility for objects launched into orbit, and to engage with their national space industry, thus creating a framework for national oversight of the industry. Multilateral export control regimes also have a key role to play. They count many of the states developing their NewSpace industry as members, and their control lists largely cover dual-use missile and SLV technology. In addition, other multilateral tools are relevant to prevent the sharing of sensitive technologies related to missiles in the context of NewSpace, such as foreign direct investment screening mechanisms. As a whole, these instruments make up a complex regulatory environment for new entrants in the sector – whether these are states or private actors.

The poster will map the existing regulatory environment and highlight possible remaining gaps, after briefly introducing why NewSpace poses specific proliferation risks, and which space technologies and activities are of particular concern. In doing so, it aims to clarify and increase understanding about applicable regulations over NewSpace activities involving dual-use space technology, and about possible ways forward in addressing developments within the NewSpace industry.

Global Critical Infrastructures

ABSTRACT. Critical infrastructure (CRITIS) is “an asset or system which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions”. In other words, CRITIS are essential for the supply of populations, but the concept is only ever applied to the national scale. But what are the critical infrastructures of humanity as a whole? In the face of accelerating environmental change, this contributions asks whether humanity’s infrastructures are prepared for supplying all of humankind while adapting to more sustainable modes of governing essential functions. Its main aim is a reconceptualization and a rescaling of the CRITIS concept to a global scale. To that end, it first identifies “core” CRITIS sectors from a comparison of national taxonomies based on CIPedia’s survey (https://websites.fraunhofer.de/CIPedia/index.php/Critical_Infrastructure_Sector). As a next step, the potential for a global approach towards these sectors and their services is assessed with a view towards a sustainable transformation of critical infrastructures, e.g. by prioritizing access to mass transit over individualized car traffic, or by preferring renewable energy generation over fossil fuels. The contribution then sketches a theoretical framework how such global critical infrastructures are currently governed. Drawing on the literatures on global governance and global public goods, it takes a relational approach and focuses on agents and interactions due to the relatively low degree of institutionalization and greater prevalence of market mechanisms compared to other governance fields. Based on this theoretical approach, the contribution offers scope for a normative assessment how global critical infrastructures should be governed to improve access for all of humanity while making infrastructures more ecologically sustainable.

Information Warfare on Twitter: Disinformation in the Russo-Ukrainian War

ABSTRACT. Social media has become a place for information operations, in particular in the context of warfare. The aim of this work is to identify factors that influence the spread of disinformation in the Russo-Ukrainian war on social media. Based on a data collection on the microblogging service Twitter, from March to April 2022, factors that could have an impact on the sharing of disinformation among Ukrainian and Russian-speaking social media users were investigated: political attitude, physical location, social media user type, trustworthiness of sources, and type of media. The quantitative analysis included 3,000 tweets and showed that especially pro-Russian social media users spread disinformation. Using an untrustworthy source (in the form of an article, image or video) in a tweet or misjudging the truth of a source also positively influences the sharing of disinformation for both Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking social media users. Thus, a strong ``media literacy'' is important for identifying both Ukrainian and Russian disinformation. As online and offline spheres are increasingly intertwined while intensified dynamics of ``tech nationalism'' reflect efforts to construe virtual spaces along national borders, we are particularly interested in how the physical localization of users affects their sharing behavior. In this regard, we find that localization can indirectly affect political attitudes among Russian-speaking social media users and thereby contribute to the generation of disinformation. Building on the insight that the the impact of physical developments (in war) and different physically-bounded media ecosystems is outweighed by the effects of political attitude and consumption of untrustworthy (digital) media, we formulate design-oriented implications with the goal to foster media literacy across national contexts.

Supporting Victims of Hate Speech: The Role of German Reporting Centers as Intermediaries with Counseling Centers, Authorities and Digital Platforms

ABSTRACT. The relationship between online hate speech and physical political violence has come to the attention of German policymakers, not least following the far-right motivated murder of Walther Lübcke, the regional district president of Kassel. To counter online hate speech, socio-technical measures have already been proposed that address the level of content, individual internet users, communities of users, civil society, or platforms. While all German states and the federal government have taken countermeasures, major differences can be observed. This applies in particular to the provision of or cooperation with reporting centers. As previous work has only peripherally addressed such organizations, this poster aims to explore the role of reporting centers in combating online hate speech in Germany and the emerging research gaps in this context. Drawing on a review of relevant academic literature as well as civil society publications and policy documents, the poster (1) provides an initial overview of the German reporting center landscape, (2) presents a preliminary model of how reporting centers act as intermediaries between victims and counseling centers, authorities, and platforms, (3) outlines initial opportunities for technology support, and (4) finally identifies a need for more in-depth research on the collaborative work processes in reporting centers.

Political Violence, Populism and Social Media in Brazil

ABSTRACT. This paper addresses the interrelations of political violence, populism and social media, using the striking case of the recent tense and eventful Brazilian presidential election process in 2022/23. It looks into new forms of digital populism in Brazil. It argues that the emergence of social media transforms the nature of political violence, as the invasion in Brasília on January 8 demonstrates. On this example, it discusses the role of social media platforms and centers the discussion on the interpretation that the attacks of the national congress were staged as "a coup for the Instagram age”.

Chemical Weapons Investigation Mechanisms in Syria: Scientific Methods and Standard of Proof

ABSTRACT. The use of chemical weapons is comprehensively banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and customary international law. This comprehensive prohibition does not only apply to states but also to individuals. While the CWC does foresee procedures for ascertaining chemical weapons use and identifying perpetrators in Article IX (Consultations, Cooperation, and Fact‑Finding) and Verification Annex Part XI (Investigations in Cases of Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons), these articles were not employed in the first cases of chemical weapons use by a CWC state party, i.e., in the context of the Syrian civil war.

Instead, several ad-hoc mechanisms were established with either the objective of fact-finding or attributing responsibility based on varying legal frameworks. This contribution aims to engage four of these mechanisms, namely, the early United Nations Mission through the United Nations Secretary-General's Mechanism (UNSGM), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), and the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT).

With distinctive mandates, the mechanisms followed different scientific methods in meeting varying standards of proof depending on the objectives pursued. For instance, in investigating allegations, UNSGM and FFM primarily relied on methods of biomedical and environmental sample analysis. On the other hand, the JIM and IIT utilized further scientific methods to conclude attribution, including chemical forensics, analysis of meteorological data and satellite images, ballistics analysis, munition analysis, and toxicology analysis.

This work compares the mandates and legal foundations of the four mechanisms and the respective scientific methods utilized in evidence finding and attribution. This systematic comparison provides the basis for further discussions on how legal circumstances constitute scientific methodology and vice-versa. As such, the objective is to provide a better understanding of the relationship between legal objectives and related standards of proof with the different scientific methods used in investigation mechanisms

Briar: Secure Messaging for Citizens and Activists during Internet Shutdowns

ABSTRACT. A pattern commonly observed in situations of protests and crises is limited Internet connectivity due to either forced Internet shutdowns or infrastructure outages. While many popular instant messaging systems these days, like Signal and WhatsApp, offer sound cryptographic protection of messages' contents, they all require a working connection to some sort of server infrastructure in order to function. Briar is a free and open-source software messaging system that solves these problems by using a novel peer-to-peer approach. Depending on the Internet's availability, it uses the Tor network to directly deliver messages between communicating peers. However, if the Internet connection is cut, it can fall back to communication via Bluetooth, the local network, or communication via memory cards, enabling so-called sneakernets. All messages exchanged are end-to-end encrypted and due to the peer-to-peer nature metadata is protected as well. By these means, Briar enables self-organization of citizens and activists and allows them to keep communicating even in hostile environments.

The 70:20:10 framework for regulatory compliance trainings.An opportunity for CBRN-WMD awareness trainings?

ABSTRACT. Training about regulatory compliance is most urgent in contexts where you expect it the least. This applies for sure in a dual-use context. Business and their supply chains dealing with dual-use goods; i.e. goods, software and technology that can be used for both civilian and military applications; need to invest in training because the customers of these goods and services can disguise their true intended end-use. Because of the ambivalence and risks, the international laws and regulation for to the exchange of dual-use goods and services in commercial and research settings is complex. It has become increasingly important to assess whether business transactions are driven by commercial, academic versus national security/defense interests.

L& D professionals working in these dual use contexts face a huge challenge. On the one hand, it is clear that dual-use trainings should help professionals to increase awareness about the security and dual-use risks and to combine wise ethical judgement with professional competence. On the other hand, the ways to design and to deliver these dual use training in contexts that matter are less understood. Regulatory compliance trainings are often considered for most participants to be a dull moment of time.

The main problem is that most regulatory compliance trainings are designed without any consideration of the learning needs of staff. The trainings are simply imposed top-down. In order to accommodate the trainings more to the workforce, Hauser (2020) has diversified the roles of trainers and increased the options for the design of compliance trainings. He argues that instead of always putting their compliance knowledge or educational tools to the fore, trainers should evolve into guides and tutors for their trainees. The contribution of Hauser (2020) is a good start to make regulatory trainings more relevant. Moreover, this framework has strong parallels with the popular 70:20:10 framework in L& D community.

I argue here that the model can be extended further by means of a more trainee centered approach. Hauser (2020) focusses mainly on what the trainer ought to do. Much can be gained by flipping the corporate classroom and focusing more radically on the trainee in the design of regulatory compliance trainings. Not only the learning goals of the trainer, but also the dilemmas of the trainee deserve time and attention. The focus of this poster is on how to design a regulatory compliance training that takes into account the diverse learning needs. Lessons learnt from the 70:20:10 framework lead me to focus on conditions for good communication: how to make sense of stories where both trainees and trainers are both experts and laymen.


Hauser, C. (2020). From preaching to behavioral change: Fostering ethics and compliance learning in the workplace. Journal of Business Ethics, 162(4), 835-855. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04364-9

De Schryver, T. (2023) Designing Dilemma Trainings As Liminal Spaces For Behavioral Change. 2022 EAPRIL conference proceedings. https://tinyurl.com/yheadcwn

Critical infrastructure and outer space: geopolitics, vulnerability, risk reduction and arms control

ABSTRACT. Outer space is considered as part of the world’s critical infrastructure, both in the civilian and security sector. Satellites conduct numerous tasks, often dual-use, for reconnaissance, early warning, monitoring, weather observation, communications, navigation, environmental protection and research which support multiple infrastructures on earth for the economy and society, energy and resources, political stability and security, health and climate, among others. While the global market for space-related activities and investments is multiplying in the coming years, competition and cooperation are increasing among a growing number of governmental and non-governmental actors in North and South. When outer space is becoming an arena for geopolitical conflict, the infrastructure in orbit and on earth is becoming more vulnerable to cascading risk: interruption of communication by accidents, jamming or ground attacks; collision with other space objects and space debris; physical attack by explosive devices, cyber, nuclear, kinetic or directed energy weapons; sensor blinding; hacking, deception or hijacking. The survivability of space objects can be improved by passive or active protection and risk reduction measures, including physical hardening and shielding, manoeuvring capability, dummies, or active countermeasures. A code of conduct for responsible space behaviour can contribute to confidence-building, rules of the road, risk reduction and stabilization. With the proliferation of space launchers and missiles, missile defense and anti-satellite weapons, threats to space infrastructure would considerably increase, jeopardizing international stability. An arms race in space can be prevented through preventive arms control and disarmament which reduces the risk to the infrastructure on earth and in space.

Oculta: Hidden Secure Communication via WhatsApp and Co.

ABSTRACT. In tense situations, often there are requirements to communication current messaging systems aren't able to meet. While systems like Signal offer sound cryptographic protections to ensure confidentiality, authenticity, and more, using a separate messaging system often is not possible. Those systems might be censored in a given region, it might be illegal to have their apps installed (and one could get into trouble in road checks), or communication via, e.g., WhatsApp is preferred, because using it is free in that country and all contacts are there. WhatsApp officially states that it is using end-to-end encryption, but this can't be confirmed independently.

In addition to that, some high-risk users need additional protections against physical attacks on their devices. To someone inspecting their devices, it should not be visible at the first glance that some secret communication is happening.

Oculta (Spanish for “hidden”) is an Android application that allows to have cryptographically protected communication that is exchanged in a hidden manner via existing messaging systems like WhatsApp, Telegram, or email. For this, messages are protected using state-of-the art cryptography and hidden inside text or images using techniques from steganography.

On the Origin of Gender Bias in Face Recognition

ABSTRACT. Biometrics is defined as the automated recognition of individuals based on their behavioral or physical characteristics. Unintentional gender bias in the corresponding systems has significant consequences. Individuals, especially females, are systematically discriminated against since the algorithms experience higher error rates on these demographics. For this reason, gender bias is one of the pivotal unsolved problems in biometrics and face recognition in particular. Its impact is evident in various everyday application scenarios using facial recognition systems. These include the authentication on modern smartphones and laptops, the authorization of financial transactions, or even the identification for border control. Especially in situations relevant to criminal law, the unintentional malfunction of the algorithms has potentially severe consequences, such as the imprisonment of innocent individuals. Such occurrences critically impact the daily life of those affected and, thus, foster public mistrust in facial recognition systems in general. Legislators also intensively debate the use of face recognition in practice, despite its clear advantages over password- or token-based authentication. To find an effective fix for this deficiency, the underlying causes of gender bias must be identified, analyzed, and ultimately understood. Previous works have primarily focused on the unequal distribution of genders in training data as a possible origin. Despite their efforts, the actual impact of this circumstance on bias has recently been proven insignificant. This finding has instigated a paradigm shift in research, with studies from the near past now mainly evaluating the role of facial features in the broader issue. However, these works apply complicated analysis methods that use low-scale, low-variance face annotations and image databases, as well as evaluation techniques that can induce unwanted variations in the results. Additionally, they do not take correlations of facial features into account. These deficits limit the results’ expressiveness and generalizability. In this thesis, the effects of non-demographic facial characteristics on gender bias are comprehensively evaluated. The presented methodology exploits the advantages of the tree data structure to efficiently generate multiple combinations of attributes, which represent the presence or absence of relevant characteristics. Subsequently, annotated large-scale image databases with high variance are filtered for faces of males and females in which the desired attribute combinations are featured. Thus, the images’ performance and, hence, the characteristics’ impact on fairness can be reliably assessed using two state-of-the-art face recognition models. Crucially, the proposed approach can also account for correlating facial features by clustering and thus combining them such that they can effortlessly be treated as a single attribute. Overall, these properties make the proposed approach simple yet effective, with its results achieving high informational value and generalizability. Applying the presented methodology reveals that gender bias entirely disappears when the presence or absence of combinations of specific characteristics is equalized across the considered genders. Those include attributes related to facial hair, hairstyles, and particular occluding accessories. These outcomes are consistent across all considered experimental settings. This strongly indicates the role of the revealed facial features as the true origin of gender bias. Consequently, future works can leverage those findings. One viable strategy would be to develop recognition models agnostic to the respective characteristics during training and operation. Another possible approach is the introduction of bias mitigation techniques that limit the effect of these specific characteristics in the recognition process. Ultimately, the results of this thesis should notably aid in more effectively and precisely researching remedies for gender bias and, thus, critically reducing the unfair treatment of individuals.

Technology Assessment of Dual-use ICTs – How to Assess Diffusion, Governance and Design

ABSTRACT. The dissertation employs the epistemological framework of Technology Assessment (TA), integrating concepts from Critical Security Studies (CSS) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to evaluate and design dual-use technologies. First, looking into cases of spillover effects, it examines the early-stage diffusion of dual-use innovations in expert networks and AI patents, revealing limited diffusion. Second, the dissertation delves into the governance of dual-use technologies through two case studies, including the regulation of AWS with a focus on Meaningful Human Control (MHC) and the evolving regulations surrounding strong cryptography and mass surveillance programs in the U.S., involving private companies as central actors. Third, focusing on the aspect of including dual-use assessment into technology design, the research investigates dual-use case of Open Source Intelligence System (OSINT) for cybersecurity while deriving design implications within the Value-Sensitive Design (VSD) framework. Findings emphasize the importance of participatory approaches to mitigate risks for indirect stakeholders. Overall, this interdisciplinary and multi-method dissertation contributes to understanding the specific risks associated with dual-use technologies in areas such as AI, AWS, cryptography, and OSINT, offering insights for regulation, design, and security considerations.

16:00-17:45 Session 8A: Workshop: Thinking about the future: Nuclear verification in a complex world

Dear SPS-participant, With the SPS’23 just around the corner, we are pleased to draw your attention to a special format in this year’s conference program: a workshop to engage in a multi-perspective discussion on potential future challenges to global security: nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards in crisis situations.  Our workshop, "Thinking about the future: Nuclear verification in a complex world," is dedicated to offering an opportunity to actively exercise interdisciplinary collaboration in peace and conflict research.

  • Workshop Details- Title: Thinking about the future: Nuclear verification in a complex world  - Date: Thursday 21.09.2023- Time: 16:00 – 17:45- Location: Kleiner Saal
  • Workshop Highlights and Goals- Learn interactively about nuclear safeguards and potential future challenges.- Explore a hypothetical nuclear safeguards scenario in an interactive “world café” session and approach solutions through interdisciplinary conversations.- Contribute to a multi-perspective dialogue with your specific disciplinary background.
  • Preparing for the Workshop No special prior knowledge or preparation is required to participate in the workshop. Nonetheless, we encourage those who would like to delve deeper into the workshop topic beforehand to check out our booklet with background information, which can be downloaded here.
  • Secure Your Spot:While there is no need to officially register, we do have limited space available. To ensure you get a spot, we recommend arriving on time. We look forward to your participation in the “Thinking about the future” workshop, as your input and insights will contribute to the depth of discussion we aspire to achieve. Thank you for considering this opportunity, and we look forward to the inspiring discussions that lie ahead. See you at SPS’23!  Best regards,

The VeSPoTec consortium 

[Workshop] Thinking about the future: Nuclear verification in a complex world

ABSTRACT. Close cooperation between policymakers and experts from across sectors and disciplines is essential to successfully address global challenges to peace and security. This is particularly true in the current global context, where social, political, and technological factors are impacting each other and thus form key challenges, such as dealing with the consequences of escalating climate catastrophe or the race to develop and regulate dual-use technologies. However, this cooperation also requires the willingness and the ability for inter- and transdisciplinary engagement. Our workshop provides an opportunity to practice a multi-perspective discussion focussing on a potential future challenge to global security: nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards in crisis situations.

Nuclear safeguards are measures applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify that States comply with their obligations to use their nuclear material and technology for peaceful purposes only. Those measures include, depending on the specific agreement, nuclear material accountancy, containment, and surveillance techniques, and, as a crucial part of the verification activities, on-site inspections. Global developments in recent years indicate that these on-site inspections may become increasingly challenging in the future: Environmental disasters, regional conflicts, or even a new pandemic could limit inspectors’ access or even destroy the information needed to verify that no nuclear material has been diverted.

Our workshop will discuss a hypothetical scenario in which IAEA safeguards are applied to a State’s nuclear facility under a crisis. Following an introduction to IAEA safeguards procedures, discussions will be held in an interactive world café format. Small groups, supported by facilitators from VeSPoTec, will explore a specific crisis that hinders safeguards activities and approach possible solutions from different perspectives.

Given the unique setting of this conference, we look forward to engaging with a diverse group of natural and social scientists to address questions such as: How can new technologies, such as autonomous systems or developments in satellite imagery, be used in or adapted for crisis situations?  How can we ensure the security and reliability of these systems in the light of cyber threats?  What is the role of non-state actors, or even civil society, to build confidence in the State not attempting to divert nuclear material? What can we learn from the discussions on resilience of critical infrastructure to make also nuclear safeguards more resilient? What are opportunities for cooperation in the current geopolitical situation?

The workshop is limited to 40 participants. Prior knowledge on nuclear verification or IAEA safeguards is not required, as all relevant information will be provided in the workshop. For those keen to dive into the topic before the workshop, dedicated material will be made available a few weeks before the conference.


16:00-18:00 Session 8B: Dialog Panel: ICT4Peace - The Role of Information and Communication Technology in (Digital) Peacebuilding

What are the possibilities and risks of promoting peacebuilding through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)? What are the needs and challenges of practitioners? And how can they benefit from scientific findings? Experts who work in research and practice of peacebuilding are brought together to discuss these questions as part of “Science. Peace. Security 2023”, this year co-organized by TraCe.

Digital Peacebuilding – Potentials and Challenges of ICTs in Peacebuilding Efforts

ABSTRACT. Digital peacebuilding presents a myriad of opportunities and challenges that need to be addressed to optimize its potential for conflict transformation. On the one hand, ICTs can help to overcome physical barriers and reach marginalized communities, facilitate data management, and promote interactivity in peacebuilding. On the other hand, digital threats such as hacking, privacy violations, and cyberbullying can jeopardize the safety of individuals and organizations involved in peacebuilding. Furthermore, access to technology and digital literacy is not universal, which can lead to inequalities in participation and engagement. Furthermore, the use of technology in peacebuilding may face cultural or political resistance, particularly in contexts where, for example, authoritarian governments seek to control information and discourse. This panel discussion will explore the opportunities and challenges of digital peacebuilding by looking at specific case studies and highlighting best practices, key lessons learned, and strategies for addressing digital risks and promoting inclusivity in peacebuilding.

Digitalization and e-government in the lives of urban migrants: Evidence from Bogotá

ABSTRACT. Research on the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve the lives of displaced people is a growing field. However, studies in this area have been conducted mainly in wealthy countries, with municipalities that are capable of supporting migrants or refugees. There is less evidence from middle-income host countries and how ICTs can help migrants in their resettlement efforts. To address this gap, this study examines ICT access and the use of e-government services by Venezuelan displaced people in Colombia and compares this group with short- and long-term residents of Bogotá. The descriptive analysis of the data reveals that, after controlling for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, foreign displaced people are less likely to own ICT devices compared to short- and long-term residents, but over time do acquire ICT access. In addition, Venezuelan displaced people are less likely to use e-government services than their local peers even after controlling for demographic characteristics and internet access, with the exception of address registration. While this paper originally focused on post-displacement contexts, the talk will highlight how the results apply to a variety of post-conflict settings where digital solutions are deployed to meet collective social and economic needs.

The Ethics of PeaceTech: Ownership and Outsourcing of Risk in Distributed Systems

ABSTRACT. The growing use of digital technologies in efforts to end violent conflicts and build peace has triggered an increased concern with their associated risks and ethical challenges, which is well visible in the growing number of policy- and practice-oriented publications. Digital peacebuilding efforts have enabled remote and decentered approaches executed through human-machine networks in which agency emerges as a distributed effect. Often, these networks entail global partnerships involving technology and peacebuilding professionals in digital infrastructures that stretch from Silicon Valley, over the headquarters of international organizations, to local peacebuilding initiatives. This means that the impacts of digital peacebuilding interventions and their potential adverse effects can usually not be directly controlled. However, the contours of this newly emerging “ethics of PeaceTech” discourse and the specific distribution of risks and responsibilities it entails have received scant scholarly attention so far. To address this gap, the paper presents a qualitative analysis of the most pertinent policy- and practice guidelines on digital peacebuilding and sheds light on their underlying ethics perspectives and risk management strategies. It argues that duty-based, consequentialist, and virtue ethics perspectives on PeaceTech serve as vectors that individualize and decenter the responsibility for the adverse effects of digital peacebuilding. By explicitly or implicitly framing these adverse effects as „risks” and outsourcing them to virtuous end-users or third parties, discourses on the ethics of digital peacebuilding advertently or inadvertently push responsibility on those parts of the networks that are least resilient.

An intersectional feminist lens on digital peacebuilding

ABSTRACT. From social media activism to minority surveillance: New technologies are having a profound impact on the field of peacebuilding. The hope that digitalisation would promote inclusion and equality is contrasted with the sobering reality that mechanisms of marginalisation are often reproduced in the digital sphere. The Berghof Foundation and the Platform for Peaceful Conflict Transformation have commissioned a study that fills a gap in existing literature and practice where intersectional feminist approaches to technology meet intersectional feminist approaches to peacebuilding. The study explores how intersectionality can help increase the opportunities and reduce the risks of digital peacebuilding. The authors argue that incorporating an intersectional feminist lens into peacebuilding helps to start from a better understanding of privilege and discrimination to address recurring challenges to effective, inclusive peace processes. The paper also shows that the strategic goal of approaching digital technology through an intersectional feminist lens is to mitigate the discrimination built into technology design and use.

18:00-19:30 Guided tour Mathildenhöhe UNESCO World Heritage Site "A city we must build, a whole city"

The Darmstadt ensemble is architecturally and artistically groundbreaking and marks a turning point in architecture and art on the threshold of the 20th century. The tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt" tells the story of the entire ensemble. The tour includes the studio building, the exhibition building, the artists' houses and the park. The tour starts at the Infopoint Mathildenhöhe. It is possible to reach the tour by bus. Remember to purchase a bus ticket.

  • Meeting point for the tour: Infopoint Mathildenhöhe, Olbrichweg 10, 64287 Darmstadt.
  • Departure from Lichtenberghaus: Bus stop Darmstadt Fasanerie, bus FU, departure 17:55 or 18:10, arrival 18:00 or 18:15 at bus stop Darmstadt Lucasweg/Mathildenhöhe.
  • Return to Lichtenberghaus: Bus stop Darmstadt Lucasweg/Mathildenhöhe, bus F, departure 19:30 or 19:45, arrival at bus stop Darmstadt Fasanerie at 19:34 or 19:49.
21:15-21:30 IANUS-Award Ceremony

The IANUS Prize is intended to recognize outstanding qualification work with IANUS relevance from all disciplines of the TU Darmstadt.

Students as well as scientists should be motivated to deal with questions in the field of scientific-technical peace and security research in a differentiated way.

Qualification work (especially studies/projects, bachelor's or master's theses, publications or dissertations) that were completed in the last 24 months before the nomination deadline and deal with IANUS-relevant issues can be submitted.

Details: https://peasec.de/2023/ausschreibung-ianus-preis-2023/