ENTRi certified course on new media in crisis information management

For the second consecutive year, the ICT4Peace Foundation’s Special Advisor Sanjana Hattotuwa led the training of a new and unique ENTRi course on the use of new media for crisis management. The course was held from 18 – 22 May at the European Academy Grunewald in Berlin, Germany. As the course description notes,

This course introduces participants to a variety of new media tools and platforms used in the collection, presentation, verification, and dissemination of information. Participants have the chance to practice using these tools through interactive activities and group work, while learning about cyber-security to protect information and sources.
In crisis areas, quick and informed decision-making can save lives. New web, mobile and internet-based media and information dissemination platforms are constantly evolving, producing increasing amounts of content. The speed with which information is created, published and disseminated keeps increasing. This allows for a multiplicity of perspectives to surface. The challenge for 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. Additionally, new tools are being developed to help experts visualize data in a clear way, so that it can be easily shared, interpreted, and understood by different users. It is therefore vital that experts working in crisis areas are aware of these tools and know how to apply them to their work.

The training was conducted in collaboration with the renowned Zentrum für Internationale Friedenseinsätze gGmbH (ZIF), based in Berlin, and introduced 24 participants from a range of backgrounds to a variety of new media tools and platforms used in the collection, presentation, verification, and dissemination of information.

Participants used several leading web based tools, apps and services as part of interactive activities and group work, while learning about digital communications security as well in order to protect information and sources.

Photos from the training course can be found here.

Kimberly Roberson and Cedric Vidonne from UNHCR, Rina Tsubaki from the European Journalism Centre and Eoghan Mac Suibhne, a consultant with the the world renowned social media verification agency Storyful were also part of the training. All of them delivered compelling presentations and took the class through exercises, based on real world scenarios and content, that familiarised them with key concepts and tools to sift through the tsunami of information and data in order to find actionable, verified content. Modules were also anchored to information visualisation and data visualisation principles, and an introduction to crisis information management (CiM) architectures at the United Nations.

ICT4Peace Foundation designed and led several exercises as well anchored to the information visualisation and mapping, in addition to a comprehensive exercise introducing participants to around 30 of the world’s leading crisis information management platforms and websites currently active, and getting them to use each one. Participants were introduced to OpenStreetMap, and also to Google’s Map Engine Lite. Using Field Papers, participants went out of the class, and literally walked around the several neighbourhoods in Berlin in order to collaboratively map it. Participants were also introduced to new platforms like What3Words.

As was the case last year, feedback from the class strongly suggested the need for on-going training courses by ENTRi and ZIF on similar lines, and a new found appreciation, from every single participant, of the ways through which new media can help strengthen the effectiveness of their professional work and institutional mandates.

Video: Digital Innovation and Peacekeeping

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Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor at the ICT4Peace Foundation, made a presentation on the future of technology and peacekeeping at re:publica15 in Berlin, on 7 May 2015. The video of the presentation is now online here.

Sanjana’s session examined how digital media and technological innovation cannot only support post-conflict peacekeeping but also augment the strategies to foster more effective community development, to empower the victims of conflict and to strengthen the challenging process of peacebuilding.

Promoting Peace, Trust and Security in Cyberspace at the United Nations

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ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher was invited on 4 and 5 May 2015 to address the United Nations member states in Geneva, where he called again for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for peaceful purposes. In particular, he stressed that ICTs be used to improve early warning of potential conflicts, mitigate their impact, and promote reconciliation and non-violent means of resolving disputes between and within nations. He warned that ICTs are increasingly being used for purposes detrimental to peace and security,  including attacks on digital networks and systems. Noting that traditional and social media can be used to promote disharmony and conflict between social, political and ethnic groups, Stauffacher  demanded that norms of responsible behaviour and confidence building measures (CBMs) for cyberspace be urgently developed by the world community. His presentation can be found here. (see from 8:46 to 13:27 minutes).

During his presentation Stauffacher reminded the audience that the United Nations Millenium Declaration of 2000, in its first paragraphs, addresses the issues of peace, security and disarmament, along with economic and social development and poverty eradication as its overarching goals. Therefore, and similar to the important achievements in using ICTs for Development, the international community should pay more attention to emerging ICT tools which can be used to support actors working in peace operations, peace building,  humanitarian response and the protection of fundamental rights.

He also recalled that in 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) adopted the Tunis Committment, including paragraph 36, (which was introduced by Switzerland and Tunisia with the support of many countries) (Footnote 1), which reads:

36. We value the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict which, inter alia, negatively affects achieving development goals. ICTs can be used for identifying conflict situations through early-warning systems preventing conflicts, promoting their peaceful resolution, supporting humanitarian action, including protection of civilians in armed conflicts, facilitating peacekeeping missions, and assisting post conflict peace-building and reconstruction.

Daniel Stauffacher then thanked the authors of the report of WSIS+10 Statement on the Implementation of WSIS Outcomes for including reference to this important paragraph 36 of the WSIS Tunis Committment in its preamble. WSIS+10 Statement on the Implementation of WSIS Outcomes which reads as follows:


World Summit on the Information Society — WSIS+10 

Ten years ago, at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in its two phases (Geneva 2003, & Tunis 2005), the representatives of the peoples of the world adopted a common vision on the Information Society, identifying its main principles and challenges towards a people-centered inclusive and development-oriented Information Society. The fundamental aim of the WSIS process was to foster the use of technology to improve peoples’ lives and to bridge the digital divide.

The uses of ICTs have developed considerably and become a part of everyday life since the second phase of the WSIS in 2005, accelerating social and economic growth, sustainable development, increasing transparency and accountability, where applicable, and offering new opportunities to leverage technology, in developed and developing countries.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have also demonstrated their value as a facilitator and development enabler in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, major challenges still lie ahead for counteracting the wide disparities in development and enabling all groups and all countries to benefit from universal access to information and knowledge. Moreover reaping the benefit of ICTs’ use has yet not been shared in all countries proportionately. In particular we reaffirm para. 36 of the Tunis Commitment regarding the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict. 

Stauffacher thanked the Secretariat of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development for an excellent description of the challenges and achievements in the context of para. 36 of WSIS 2005 Tunis Commitment in their report Implementing WSIS Outcomes – A ten Year Review (see page 27)In concluding, he reiterated ICT4Peace’s commitment to the development of ICTs for peace and security and an open, free and secure cyberspace. He invited UN member states to reaffirm para. 36 of the Tunis Commitment regarding the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict.

For more information on the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003 in Geneva please also refer to the following publication.

Footnote 1 Para. 36 of the Tunis Committment was prepared on the basis of the Report ICT4Peace:  Role of ICT in Preventing, Responding to and Recovering from Conflict produced by an ICT4Peace project supported by the Swiss Government and lead by Daniel Stauffacher, then Swiss Ambassador for the WSIS.

Footnote 2 Information on the work of the ICT4Peace Foundation can be found herehere and here.


Submission on future of peacekeeping and technology at re:publica 2015, Berlin

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As noted on the website, re:publica is,

“…one of the largest and most exciting conferences about digital culture in the world. Since its foundation in 2007, it has grown from a cozy blogger meeting with 700 participants into a wide-ranging “society conference”, with more than 6000 visitors annually. Representatives of digital culture share their knowledge and decision-making tools, and discuss the future of the information society. Here they can mingle with activists, scientists, hackers, entrepreneurs, NGOs, journalists, social media and marketing experts, and many others. This fosters innovation and creates synergies between net politics, online marketing, network technology, digital society, and (pop) culture.”

As part of the GIG programme and hosted by ZIF – Center for International Peace Operations, Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor at the ICT4Peace Foundation was invited to deliver a presentation on technology and peacekeeping today. The session was interestingly titled ‘NERDS WITH BLUE HELMETS? DIGITAL INNOVATION AND PEACEKEEPING‘ (see image of webpage here).

Joining a distinguished panel of speakers from Africa, Sanjana chose to look at the future of peacekeeping in today’s digital landscapes, and focussed on,

Following from the ‘Performance Peacekeeping’ report, what are the central challenges for peacekeeping in our digital age? What impact will the Internet of Things (IoT) tomorrow, and the democratisation of mobile devices today have for the peacekeeping domain?

*radical inclusion*, where like it or not, voices hitherto at the margins, periphery or violent erased could and would record their stories, and disseminate it to a wider public, through a range of media.

What are the implications of live-streaming over Twitter? *Social witnessing*?

Stories that wouldn’t have been recorded were it not for a range of advances in technologies to record, disseminate, archive and engage. *management of exclusion* important – *actionable intelligence from noise and information*.

An *addressable world* would change our interactions within and between, for example, communities, networks and identity groups. Is it the case today, and increasingly in the future, that active agents of peacebuilding and peacekeeping have to necessarily give up more of their privacy in order to do, and say, what they must?

*Human avatars from network protocols* and the impact on real world perceptions, realities. How one could even remotely maintain control over privacy within ecosystem of competing owners, location sensors, proxy indicators, sentient nodes, ambient observation, pervasive automation that go on to recreate, digitally, our lives that may in fact be unrepresentative of who we really are? How will the politics of representation change?

*Privatisation of information on the web* – what can the UN do with intelligence that resides on corporate servers? The problems around FB’s internet.org initiative (net neutrality).

What implications does the use of big data and data from telcos have on the rights, privacy and safety of host communities and target groups, who are often vulnerable to violent conflict?

*New vulnerabilities* – producers of information, and subjects of oversight, aren’t the architects of how what they produce is used.

*No guarantee of reform* – Big data use in socio-political systems featuring chronic corruption, political instability and poor legislative oversight. Add to this mix the profit orientation of big corporate bodies, and consumer protection is often secondary, at best, to market imperatives or contra-constitutional state led directives.

*Data in the aggregate can discriminate as much as individual records* Even randomised and anonymised, big data can provide insights into geo-fenced communities and specific income groups that are then hostage to the nature of government and timbre of governance prevalent at the time.

Are the normative assumptions around the use of drones, big data and other technologies unsuited to be applied easily to contexts framed by systemic violence and chronic instability? Have legislative and institutional architectures haven’t kept pace with tech developments and indeed, use case scenarios?

In March 2014, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay noted in her Opening Statement to the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council that,

“… the development of new technologies – such as drones and lethal autonomous robots – which push us to the outer edge of our thinking on how to ensure our rights are protected, social media and new information technology which raises the question of where the public and private space lies and the importance of on-line and off-line freedoms..”

*Disruptive technology* isn’t always empowering to vulnerable populations.

*Can create new dependencies on West / existing power structures*. Sharing of information isn’t a given – cost implications, rights of access etc, in-country access post-disaster or within violent conflict, with congested or poor connectivity etc.

*NEPAL UAV operations* – chaotic, and showcases how hostage UAV operations are to domestic legal and policy frameworks, even post-disaster.

*Does democratisation of use lead to more democratic frameworks of governance* – Five years hence, even small NGOs with shoe-string budgets will have operational capability for hyper-local UAV overflights, with or without official airspace regulatory oversight, government authority or, in some cases, military clearance. What about non-state armed actors getting UAVs? What are the optics around UAV crowded skies? How to maintain neutrality in the air?

*Informed consent* – what does it mean for UAV overflights? And the sharing of data downstream, months and years after original acquisition?

Need for data *sunset clauses*, expiration frameworks for information harvested from disaster affected communities?

Meeting with Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi)

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At the kind invitation of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) based in Berlin, Germany, Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor at the ICT4Peace Foundation met with researchers and other programme staff on 5 May 2015 over an hour long discussion, spilling over into lunch. Sanjana’s presentation and subsequent discussion was anchored to the following broad points which he fleshed out in greater detail,

  • Following from the ‘Performance Peacekeeping’ report, what are the central challenges for peacekeeping in our digital age? What impact will the Internet of Things (IoT) tomorrow, and the democratisation of mobile devices today have for the peacekeeping domain?
  • What implications does the use of big data and data from telcos have on the rights, privacy and safety of host communities and target groups, who are often vulnerable to violent conflict?
  • Are the normative assumptions around the use of drones, big data and other technologies unsuited to be applied easily to contexts framed by systemic violence and chronic instability?
  • Have legislative and institutional architectures to facilitate and govern the use of Big Data in peacekeeping domains kept pace with tech developments and indeed, use case scenarios?

After Sanjana’s submissions, the discussion were anchored to questions around Big Data, anonymity and privacy in our digital age, the challenges of informed consent, ethics and a rights based approach to technology, questions around power relations including power asymmetries that guide the use and appreciation of technology in peacebuilding as well as more general questions around social media and ICTs in today’s peacekeeping and conflict transformation contexts.

Background information for the points discussed were taken from the following articles and resources,

ICT4Peace consultations with the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Berlin

On 23 April 2015, ICT4Peace was invited by the German Federal Foreign Office to discuss international cybersecurity affairs and to give a presentation on the work and mandate by ICT4Peace to German Diplomats from various departments working on international cyber affairs. The presentation can be found here.

Daniel Stauffacher of ICT4Peace was kindly received by Ambassador Dr. Norbert Riedel, Commissioner for International Cyber Policy and Dr. Karsten Geier, Head, Cyber Policy Coordination Staff, Federal Foreign Office, Germany, and Head of the German Delegation to the UN Governmental Group of Experts on Cyberspace (GGE) Negotiations in New York.

Daniel Stauffacher also took this opportunity to thank the German Government for their generous support to ICT4Peace’s International Cybersecurity Policy and Diplomacy Capacity Programme:

ICT4Peace and OAS co-organize workshop on International Security and Diplomacy in Cyberspace

The Government of Kenya and ICT4Peace Foundation co-organize the first Regional Training Workshop in Africa on International Security and Diplomacy in Cyberspace

ICT4Peace conducts International Cybersecurity Diplomacy Course at the Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015, The Hague Netherlands

BuildPeace 2015 Conference opens in Nicosia

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The Program of the Conference you will find here. Please follow the conference on Twitter and live streaming here.

ICT4Peace is happy to be an early supporter of the BuildPeace Conference, which started at MIT in 2014. Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor of the ICT4Peace Foundation delivered a keynote presentation at the inaugural BuildPeace conference and has been actively engaged with the organisers in the curation of this year’s conference, including in the ideation around the arts and culture programme that complements the substantive sessions. Sanjana will also chair a panel that looks at power dynamics in technology and peacebuilding.

We wish the conference in Nicosia the best of success.

ICT4Peace on the Role of Civil Society in furthering Confidence Building Measures in Cyberspace at Lomonosov University Conference in Garmisch

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On 21 April 2015, Daniel Stauffacher, President of ICT4Peace was invited to give a presentation on the “Role of Civil Society, Private Sector and Academia in furthering Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in Cyberspace” at the Lomonosov University Moscow annual Garmisch-Partenkirchen Conference. The Conference brings together experts from Russia, USA, UK, Germany, Japan Korea, Estonia, Finland, Italy, France, Switzerland etc. to discuss inter alia the following topics:

  1. Proposals on Frameworks for Adaptation of International Law to Conflicts in Cyberspace;
  2. Improving the Information Security of Critical Infrastructures: Possible Initiatives;
  3. Legal and Technical aspects of ensuring Stability, Reliability and Security of the Internet;
  4. Challenges of countering the threat of the use of social media for interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states (extremism, radicalization, etc.);
  5. National Priorities and Business Approaches (IT-industry) in the sphere of International Information Security System Development.

The presentation by Daniel Stauffacher can be found here.

In his presentation, Daniel Stauffacher proposed concrete actions in the following areas of work for civil society, private sector and academia in furthering Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in cyberspace: i) Transparency and Accountability; ii) Participation; and iii) Deepening the Knowledge Base.

ICT4Peace has published the following report on the role of civil society in furthering confidence building in English here and in Spanish here.

ICT4Peace in 2013 also published a comprehensive overview of possible CBM’s in Cyberspace, which can be found here.

ICT4Peace: A Comprehensive Normative Approach to Cybersecurity is needed

Seeking to contribute to the international dialogue on norms for responsible behavior in cyberspace, ICT4Peace, with the support of the Dutch Government, organized a series of workshops and research notes in preparation of a High-Level Panel at the  Global Conference on Cyberspace (GCCS), The Hague, Netherlands on 17 April 2015.

Using a bottom-up approach to the development of international norms, the results of the research and panel discussion suggests that the discussion of norms ought to be built on a shared understanding of ‘normal’, deriving from practices States seem to be adopting or following when operating in cyberspace. To complement expert work on treaty interpretation and searches for international customary law on cyber security, it was confirmed by this investigation, that it will be necessary to work on additional ways to progressively develop commonly accepted norms of responsible State behavior in cyberspace.

For this purpose, under the leadership of Dr. Eneken Tikk, Senior Advisor, ICT4Peace, the following Comprehensive Normative Approach to Cybersecurity was developed and endorsed by the experts participating in the ICT4Peace panel on norms at GCCS 2015.


In preparation of the panel a series of workshops were carried out and four draft research papers were prepared which can be found here.

The Experts participating in the panel discussion were:


Dr. Daniel Stauffacher, President ICT4Peace


Dr Eneken Tikk-Ringas, IISS/ICT4Peace


  • Mr Zahid Jamil, Chair, Developing Countries’ Centre on Cyber Crime (DC4)
  • Mr Uchenna Jerome Orji LLM, attorney and lecturer in cyber law (Nigeria)
  • Ms Liisi Adamson, student/youth representative, Tartu University Faculty of Law (Estonia)
  • Dr Nils Melzer, Senior Advisor, Security Policy Division, Political Directorate, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (former ICRC) (Switzerland)
  • Dr Mika Kerttunen, Cyber Policy Institute, Finland
  • Jan Neutze, Director Cybersecurity Policy, Microsoft, Germany
  • Professor Paul Cornish, RAND Europe, Research Group Director, United Kingdom
  • Mr Alexander Radovitskiy, Aide to the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on international cooperation in the field of information security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

ICT4Peace Panel on International Norms for Peace and Security at the Global Conference on Cyberspace, The Hague, Netherlands

Discussions on the applicability of existing international norms of responsible state behaviour to cyberspace are on-going within the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (UN GGE) and several regional organisations. The need for trust and responsible state behaviour in cyberspace is acute and real as malicious uses of ICTs affect the prospect of economic and social benefits brought by an advanced information society and run the risk of escalating tensions between states.

On 17 April 2015, the ICT4Peace Foundation, with the generous support of the Dutch Government, will organize a panel discussion at the Global Conference on Cyberspace, The Hague, Netherlands on the topic of norms. Moderated by Dr. Eneken Tikk, Senior Advisor, ICT4Peace Foundation, the session will take a comprehensive and inclusive approach to norms emergence in cyberspace. It aims to complement the on-going dialogue within the GGE and other fora – primarily focused on the interpretation of international treaties – with views on additional sources of norms and normative instruments.

The interpretation of international treaties, which, as one of the instruments of international law, will inevitably never be precise and dynamic enough to offer practicable solutions to the acute and emerging threats, that countries are facing in the cyberspace. While some commentators have voiced the expectation of international custom to result from the general and consistent practice of states, formation of customary law is difficult, given the still developing understanding of operations in and through cyberspace.

There is, however, an additional source of international law to be employed in such vague circumstances, namely that provided for in Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice on the general principles of law recognised by civilised nations as primarily reflected in the judicial opinions of domestic courts. The general principles of law are intended to serve as gap fillers in a fragmented field of international law. The treaty-based approach inevitably results in gaps in the regulation as not all relevant issues can or should be solved by a treaty and treaty law: Some issues do not require international responses but rather require coordinated national level action; some may be resolved by politically binding and voluntary instruments. The general principles of law may serve the purposes of norms economy but could also correspond better to the realities of the emerging understanding of feasible and functional remedies.

Examining the use of the general principles of international law, as the shared understanding between civilised nations, directs us to practical solutions adopted at the national level and allows us to assess better the emerging areas of consensus likely to affect and define the development of hard law in the future. It will also indicate useful borderlines between international and national responses to issues of international cyber security. Therefore, it offers guidance to international resolution, as opposed to national, and notably allows us to determine priorities as well as subsequent future directions of international engagement. The panel will highlight the general principles of international law as an existing and mandatory avenue for finding and determining binding guidance for responsible state behaviour.

When studying the general principles of international law we need to remain open-minded in order to find some of these principles reflecting political consensus and agreement. Failure to approach the issue of norms in a comprehensive and inclusive manner leaves us partially unaware of possibly emerging consensus on responsible state behaviour. Hence the need to expand the exploration of responsible state behaviour to the realm of soft law as well as politically binding and voluntary normative instruments.

Building on on-going research and interviews, the ICT4Peace panel will discuss what states and non-state actors prioritise as (international) cyber security issues, what remedies have been developed to respond to these issues and whether such approaches amount to norms of responsible state behaviour.

The Agenda and Speakers of the Panel can be found here include:

ICT4Peace has launched it’s project on norms for peace and security in the cyberspace under the leadership of Dr. Eneken Tikk in 2012. The above mentioned panel as well as the preparatory research in 2015 has been made possible with the generous support by the Dutch Government.

At the Hague Conference, ICT4Peace, in cooperation with Clingendael, is also conducting an International Cybersecurity Diplomacy Course on 15 April 2015, prepared and moderated for ICT4Peace by Ms. Camino Kavanagh, Senior Advisor, ICT4Peace Foundation. Information can be found here.

Recent publications and events by ICT4Peace on international cyber security affairs can be found here.