Fake news in Myanmar: Social Media verification workshop

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An informal workshop on verifying news and information spread across social media was held recently at Phandeeyar in Yangon, Burma, led by the Foundation’s Special Advisor, Sanjana Hattotuwa. Amongst the confirmed participants were:

Media and Media Support Organizations
  • Irrawaddy
  • BBC Media Action
  • Kumudra and Modern Journal
  • Democratic Voice of Burma
  • Myanmar Journalism Institute
Civil Society Organizations
  • PEN Myanmar
  • People in Need
  • Burma Human Rights Network
  • Myanmar ICT Development Organization
  • Center for Diversity and National Harmony
  • Women Peace Arakan Network
Funders, Researchers, INGOS
  • Andaman Research and Advisory
  • Peace Support Fund
  • The Swedish Burma Committee
  • Fortify Rights
  • Humanitarian Dialogue Center

Covering Google, Error Level Analysis for images, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and other topics, the workshop was anchored to the source evaluation module of a longer course run by the ICT4Peace Foundation on the use of new media in crisis management. The workshop also drew on Sanjana’s experience of countering-rumors and violent extremism in Sri Lanka. Participants were alerted to several leading social media verification guides, frameworks and best practices from the likes of the BBC, Columbia Journalism Review, Nieman Reports, First Draft news and other sources.

Those attending had a range of questions around content, technical issues, platforms, apps and use case scenarios, at a time in Myanmar where the spread of misinformation and disinformation campaigns and content is rife. Sanjana’s workshop ties in with activities done with Phandeeyar in the recent past around countering violence extremism online and the production of counter-speech to combat the rise of hate and dangerous speech in the country.

ICT4Peace briefs the UN Security Council on Cybersecurity and International Peace and Security

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ICT4Peace was invited on 28 November 2016 to brief the members of the UN Security Council on Cybersecurity and International Peace and Security. The Arria-formula meeting was co-chaired by Secretary of State Félix Sanz (Spain) and Ambassador Fodé Seck (Senegal), President of the Security Council in November 2016 and co-organized by these two countries.

Daniel Stauffacher, representing the ICT4Peace Foundation urged the UN Security Council to engage more actively in conflict prevention in cyberspace, – as the first destructive acts of offensive cyber operations have occurred – and not wait that new threats materialise and violent conflicts erupt. He reminded that the relatively new environment of cyberspace presents us with a golden opportunity to engage in conflict prevention. The internet alone represents an information and communication platform of extraordinary importance. With over 3.5 billion users, the global society is highly dependent on the internet for its well-being and prosperity. As the international community embarks on the UN Agenda 2030 for development, societies will increasingly need to apply ICTs to achieve their goals. Yet, despite its enormous socio-economic importance and its overwhelming use for civilian purposes, much remains to be done to ensure that cyberspace is used “for peaceful purposes” and “in the interests of all countries”, Daniel Stauffacher said.

In particular, he stressed the need to ensure that states commit to protecting critical civilian infrastructure from state sponsored attack. The dictates of international law, including international humanitarian law, and the recognition of common security interests require, at a minimum, such restraint. To this end, States should move rapidly to implement cyber security confidence building measures aimed at protecting such critical infrastructure, including the computer emergency response teams (CERTs) that are the “first responders” of cyberspace.

More generally, at this early stage of considering what sort of governance should be applied to cyberspace, he urged that the advocates of peaceful uses of cyberspace are given priority. For some, he mentioned, the necessary diplomacy to realise this goal has lagged behind the moves to militarise and indeed weaponise this vulnerable environment. He called for, that the outcome of the positive discussions and recommendations of a series of UN Group of Governmental Experts studying ICT developments in the context of international security are acted upon by all states. Especially relating to international law, norms of responsible state behaviour as well as confidence measures. To that end he hoped that appropriate ways to involve member states beyond the UN GGE format could be found.

Focusing on those actions that can have a destabilizing effect – for instance, offensive cyber operations against critical civilian infrastructure – would be a good starting point, he underlined. They would focus on those state-conducted activities, the effects of which can cause significant damage, including
physical damage. As has been the case in the past with measures to limit arms and/or destabilising military activity, he mentioned the need to base these on a common security interest in sustaining a stable and smoothly functioning cyberspace. In parallel to diplomatic efforts, there should also be a greater focus on capacity building, he stressed, not only to minimise vulnerability to malicious activity but also to maximise cooperation in the event of incidents.

The full presentation by Daniel Stauffacher, President of ICT4Peace Foundation can be found here.

Invitation to screening of ‘The Look of Silence’

The ICT4Peace Foundation is pleased to invite you to the screening of the critically acclaimed and award winning documentary, The Look of Silence, as part of the Human Rights Film Festival, Zurich.

Sunday, 11th December 2016
Arthouse Uto
Kalkbreitestrasse 3, Zurich
11.30hrs
Q&A with Joshua Oppenenheimer at 13.15hrs (over Skype video)

Released in 2014, the film is directed by Joshua Oppenheimer and is about the Indonesian killings of 1965–66. It is a companion piece to Oppenheimer’s 2012 documentary The Act of Killing and was executive produced by Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, and Andre Singer.

The Look of Silence  was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Academy Awards. The screening of the film will be immediately followed by a Skype Q&A with the Director, Joshua Oppenheimer, conducted by Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor, ICT4Peace Foundation.

More details in poster below. Or download PDF of flyer here.

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ICT4Peace Cybersecurity Policy and Diplomacy workshop for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam

In cooperation with the Government of the Lao PDR, ICT4Peace organised it’s Workshop on Cybersecurity Policy and Diplomacy in Vientiane for the CLMV Countries Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Over 40 Diplomats and Officials from Certs and other Ministries, Academics and Private Sector Companies from CLMV countries as well as international experts participated in this two day Workshop on 31 October and 1 November 2016. The Workshop was opened by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of Lao PDR. H.E. Dr. Thansamay Kommasith and Dr. Daniel Stauffacher of the ICT4Peace Foundation, Switzerland. An article in Vientiane Times/ANN can be found here.

The Agenda of the Workshop can be found here.

The short term objectives of the workshop were:

  • A better understanding by public officials and diplomats of CLMV Countries of international norms, CBMs and international cooperation in the Cyber space such as the ones outlined in the UN GGE Report and at OSCE, AU, OAS etc.;
  • To enable a more effective participation of CLMV countries in the international debates and bilateral, regional and global consultations/negotiations in fora such as the London Process, UN, UN GGE, ASEAN, ARF, AP-CERT;
  • A better understanding of the concerns, best practices, policies and institutional arrangements in the field of cyber security at the national and CLMV/ASEAN level;
  • A better understanding of the best practices and requirements for national cyber security legislation as well as a National Cyber Security Strategy building;
  • A strengthened and possibly institutionalized cooperation among CLMV countries at the diplomatic and CERT-level;
  • Build a network of alumni, lecturers and experts of the workshop course, to up-date and exchange information on future developments in the global and regional international cyber security debate, research and negotiations.

The lecturers of the workshop were:

Dr. Eneken Tikk, Estonia, Senior Advisor, ICT4Peace, Fellow; IISS, Dr. Sazali Sukardi, Senior Vice President, Strategic Research, CyberSecurity Malaysia; Asst. Prof. Phannarith Ou, Director, Department of ICT Security, Cambodia; Dr. Serge Droz, Former Head of Swiss CERT, Member of the Board FIRST, VP Opensystems and ICT4Peace Consultant; Mr. Sebastian Müller, Cyber Policy Coordination Staff, Federal Foreign Office, Germany; Dr. Mika Kerttunen, Finland, Senior Advisor, ICT4Peace; Mr. Martin Bierwirth, Federal Office for Information Security BSI, Germany.

The workshop was generously supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) Vientiane, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, private Donors and ICT4Peace Foundation, Switzerland.

ICT4Peace has held such a workshop already in 2014 in Bogota for Latin American countries in cooperation with OAS, and subsequently in Nairobi with the Government of Kenya for 12 East African Countries, with the Government of Singapore for ASEAN Countries, at the African Union in Addis Ababa, and at GCSP in Geneva.

For more photos, click here.

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Preliminary Insights into the Private Sector’s Response To Terrorist Use of the Internet and ICT

Outcome of Zurich Workshop available here.

Since the late 1990s, and as global connectivity has increased and social networking sites have proliferated in multiple languages, certain groups have become more sophisticated in their use of the internet and ICT for terrorist purposes. Indeed, concerns regarding terrorist use of the internet has increased significantly over the past few years, due in large part to the adeptness of terrorist groups to use the internet and ICT to communicate, groom and recruit foreign fighters and supporters, spread propaganda about their objectives, share knowledge key to their operations, and finance their activities. These developments have important implications for the private sector as do emerging measures aimed at preventing the sale and distribution to, and use of IT products and services by listed terrorist groups.

This reality has led to greater engagement of the private sector – notably technology and social media companies – in efforts to respond to terrorist use of the internet and ICT, including the creation of public-private partnerships specifically aimed at dealing with the issue, and the emergence of new (and oft-contested) practices or norms of self-regulation by companies, notably in the area of content management and counter narratives.

In April 2016, the ICT4Peace Foundation and the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (UN CTED) launched a joint project on Private sector Engagement in Responding to Terrorist Use of the Internet and ICT. The project aims to To this end, the events will serve to consult with companies and other stakeholders on:

  • Their approaches to responding to terrorist use of their products and services (use of ICT for financing, recruitment and strategic communications/ propaganda etc).
  • Emerging practices, norms, principles in responding to terrorist use of the internet and ICT, as well as emerging legislation.
  • Trends in public-private partnerships established to respond to terrorist use of ICT.
  • Industry’s role in implementing ICT/internet-related measures stemming from UN Security Council ISIL and AQ sanctions.
  • Emerging and future threats relating to terrorist use of the internet and IT.
  • The establishment of a curated on-line global collaboration forum which would be aimed at sharing and regularly up-dating norms, principles and practices relating to industry’s response to terrorist use of ICT; discussing existing and emerging challenges; and engaging with states and other actors.

As a first step, ICT4Peace and CTED is organising a number of workshops on these issues, the first of which was held in Zurich, Switzerland in August 2016, hosted at ETH. It was followed by another in Silicon Valley in the US on 12 September, hosted by Microsoft and another which will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 03 November, hosted by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies. We invite you to read the summary report from the Zurich workshop (posted here) and welcome any comments/ suggestions you might have as we move towards drafting a preliminary report which will be presented to the UN Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee, and as we finalise the details of Phase II of the project.

The report of the Zurich workshop can be found here.

For further information on the project, please contact:
info@ICT4peace.org

Project Team:

ICT4Peace
Dr. Camino Kavanagh, Project Director
Adam Hadley, Researcher
Sophia Khan, Researcher
Diana Ruiz, Researcher

UN CTED
Marc Porret, Legal Advisor, CTED
Matteo Sestito, Associate Political Officer, CTED
Cecilia Naddeo, Human Rights Officer, CTED

New Media Course: Tools & Techniques for Civilian Crisis Management

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The challenge
for journalists and experts working in civilian crisis management is finding a way to filter the information and determine what is relevant with the overload of information, and further, to communicate that effectively to the right people in an efficient manner.

This course
introduces participants to a variety of new and social media tools, platforms and apps used in the collection, presentation, verification and dissemination of information.

Course modules will cover
new media in crises, information management in a crisis, OS-INT and big data, data visualisation, tools for collaboration, introduction to new cartographies and mapping tools, source verification over social media, security, safety and privacy plus data protection.

Delivered successfully and to wide acclaim by participants since 2013 the course will take place in Stans, in central Switzerland, from 30 January – 3 February 2017. For details of 2016’s course and feedback, click here.

Participants
have the chance to do hands-on exercises using these tools through interactive activities and group work, while also learning about cyber-security to protect information, communications and sources.

Application
To apply for the course please send a motivation letter and a CV that describes your background and the benefit the course would add to your professional expertise.

The application letter should not exceed 1 A4 page and has to be in English, which is the course language.

Please send applications to: applications@ict4eace.org

Questions on course & logistics to Anna Hofmann: annahofmann@ict4peace.org

The course fee amounts to 2000.00 Swiss Francs, covering the costs for tuition and full board accommodation. Travel costs and insurance have to be covered by the participants.

Application ends Friday 2 December 2016.

Accepted participants will be informed by Friday 16 December 2016.

ICT4Peace on Cybersecurity Capacity Building at the UN General Assembly First Committee

ICT4Peace was invited on 5 October 2016 to make a presentation on cybersecurity capacity building at a side event of UN General Assembly First Committee. This Committee deals with disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace that affect the international community and seeks out solutions to the challenges in the international security regime. The presentation by ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher can be found here.

The link to the post of the United Nations can be found here.

The UN, Cyberspace and International Peace & Security

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Moderator Kerstin Vignard who leads UNIDIR’s work on cyber issues

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) held a side event on cyberspace and international peace and security on October 5, 2016 during 71st Session of the General Assembly First Committee. Three expert presenters discussed the important details of cybersecurity in the modern world and how Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) are increasingly influential on economic, scientific, social, and political developments. They were: Mr. Karsten Geier, the chair of the Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security; Camino Kavanagh, a senior advisor and consultant on cyber issues; and Daniel Stauffacher, the founder and president of the ICT4Peace Foundation. Kerstin Vignard, who leads UNIDIR’s work on cyber issues.

Karsten Geier started the presentation by explaining the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security. Building on four previous GGEs which began in 2004, this year’s group is focusing on existing and potential threats to international security in the use of ICTs. Their analysis and discussions focus on international law, further expansion and clarification of norms as well as expectations concerning responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

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The second expert, Camino Kavanagh, focused on the linkages between the work in the First Committee and development, human rights, and counter-terrorism. She explained that a divide exists between development and internet governance in relation to international security. Human rights concerns have emerged from international cyber security concerns. Pointing out that the potential of misuse of cyberspace and noting that ease with which terrorist groups have been able to propagate, radicalize and recruit supporters, raise funds, and incite hatred and violence, Ms. Kavanagh remarked that some states have engaged in mass surveillance and censorship. Controlling the cyber sphere can undoubtedly infringe on internet users’ freedom of speech and expression. . For its part, it was recognized that the United Nations System is working to solve these three issues by shaping and implementation norms, confidence, and capacity building measures.

The last expert to speak was the founder and president of the ICT for Peace Foundation, Daniel Stauffacher. He provided an overview of the different international organizations that are working on cybersecurity issues, including the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (CFCE), the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre (GCSCC), the Organization of American States, and the African Union Commission. Confidence building, international assistance, and capacity building were stressed as the main issues to be discussed and decided upon.

Drafted by Kathryn Smart

ICT4Peace at Munich Security Conference: Cybersecurity must be part of the Global Development Debate

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ICT4Peace was invited to participate in Munich Security Conference’s (MSC) Cybersecurity Summit Silicon Valley 2016 on 19 and 20 September 2016. When discussing the issue of capacity building in Cybersecurity, ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher, speaking from the floor, reiterated the importance of capacity building to build a safer global cyberspace and especially the need to also include the developing and emerging economies in the debate at the UN and elsewhere, on norms, rules and principles of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace and the promotion of confidence building measures (CBMs) to prevent an escalation of cyber-attacks. He expressed his concern, that despite numerous efforts, cybersecurity capacity building has still not sufficiently entered the international development cooperation debate, neither in the context of the UN SDGs, nor e.g. in the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OCDE in Paris.

Daniel Stauffacher informed the audience that ICT4Peace has been carrying out Workshop Courses since 2014 on Cybersecurity Policy and Diplomacy for technical and diplomatic personnel in cooperation with the Organisation of American States (OAS), African Union (AU), ASEAN, OSCE, East African Countries, GCSP, CMLV Countries. But he also stressed that more resources need to be invested in this important sector.

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ICCM 2016, Manila, Philippines: Video message from ICT4Peace Foundation

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The International Conference of Crisis Mappers (ICCM) is the leading humanitarian technology event of the year, bringing together the most important humanitarian, human rights, development and media organizations with the world’s best technology companies, software developers and academics. As thus one of the few neutral spaces where such important conversations can take place, the annual ICCM conference brings together a wide range of diverse actors for important conversations that lead to concrete new projects and deliverables across a variety of diverse domains. As a community of practice, the ICCM thus helps facilitate new projects and catalyzes innovation in the area of humanitarian technology.

This year’s conference is being hosted in Manila, Philippines September 28-30, 2016 with field visits from October 1-7. The ICT4Peace Foundation co-curated and funded one of the best attended ICCM conferences in Geneva, five years ago – the first time it was brought to and held in Europe. In addition, through the support for ICCM Fellows, funding for logistics, technical input, curation and the moderation of panels, the Foundation has contributed to the success of the conference in Boston (2010), Washington (2012), Nairobi (2013) and New York (2014).

Due to unavoidable circumstances, Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor at the Foundation, who was slated to MC the conference in Manila, could not travel to the Philippines. On behalf of the Foundation, a short video message from Sanjana was played at the conference.

International Governance for Peace and Security in Cyberspace

ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher was invited to give a lecture on “International Governance for Peace and Security in Cyberspace” at the Summer School of the Swiss Study Foundation organised in collaboration with Prof. Michael Ambühl, Chair of Negotiation and Conflict Management, ETH Zurich, and former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, on 6. September 2016 at the Centro in Magliaso, Switzerland. Daniel Stauffacher’s presentation can be found here.

This Summer School introduced core concepts of modern State structures (such as separation of powers, administrative transparency, accountability and participation) and international relations. It discussed the manifold challenges of today’s policy makers who are required to tackle problems in an ever more interdisciplinary way. In addition to this multi-dimensional nature, policies have also to be coordinated on the international stage. A particular emphasis was placed on policy questions concerning modern technologies in the IT (e.g. security, cyber warfare), health (e.g. data collection, genetic engineering) and energy sector (e.g. security of supply, climate impact). Current global challenges were highlighted under the perspective of policy. To complement the course program, an introduction to negotiation theories, negotiation engineering and decision making was given, and a workshop with simulation of international negotiations was carried out.