Category Archives: International Law

[REPORT] should video game players face the same dilemmas as real soldiers?
Date Created: October 4, 2013  Date Modified: October 4, 2013

First off the report title is not the same as the post title, as I have tried to do throughout this blog; The reason for this is however to pose the question: shouldn’t video game players face the same dilemmas as real soldiers?, which may seem out of place being that the player is removed from the same risks as the solider–A solider risks death, which is certainly a “dilemma” not only for the solider experiencing the death but also his fellow soldiers. With this outcome removed from the players reality outside the game, it would seem unfair to implement the same sorts of penalties. However this superficial appraisal is forgetting to take into account actual in-game penalties. Is it possible that the Playstation generation allow itself to become the war criminals of the present or future, by the moralities of war are being taught by CGI insurgents?

‘Video games and international humanitarian law (IHL)’ is a relatively new and fragmented field of enquiry, spanning a range of discourses. There is little in the way of IHL-focused literature on the subject. This article is very much an exploratory piece. Its purpose is to highlight the potential impact of these games on players’ perceptions of the normative framework governing the use of force.

Source

This report, Beyond the Call of Duty: why shouldn’t video game players face the same dilemmas as real soldiers? by the International Red Cross addresses this emerging area.

[REPORT] Freedom of the Internet
Date Created: October 3, 2013  Date Modified: October 6, 2013

Freedom House, a human rights group has published their 2013 Report of Internet Freedom, and being some of the major developments this year it is worth reassessing where we think we stand:

1. Blocking and filtering: In 29 of the 60 countries evaluated, the authorities blocked certain types of political and social content over the past year. China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia were the worst offenders, but filtering in democratic countries like South Korea and India has also affected websites of a political nature. Jordan and Russia intensified blocking in the past year.

2. Cyberattacks against regime critics: Opposition figures and activists in at least 31 countries faced politically motivated cyberattacks over the past year. Such attacks are particularly prevalent during politically charged events. For example, in Malaysia and Venezuela the websites of popular independent media were repeatedly subject to DDoS attacks in the run-up to elections.

3. New laws and arrests: In an increasing number of countries, the authorities have passed laws that prohibit certain types of political, religious, or social speech online, or that contain vague restrictions related to national security that are open to abuse. In 28 countries, users were arrested for online content. In addition to political dissidents, a significant number of those detained were ordinary people who posted comments on social media that were critical of the authorities or the dominant religion.

4. Paid progovernment commentators: A total of 22 countries saw paid commentators manipulate online discussions by discrediting government opponents, spreading propaganda, and defending government policies from criticism without acknowledging their affiliation. Spearheaded by China, Bahrain, and Russia, this tactic is increasingly common in countries like Belarus and Malaysia.

5. Physical attacks and murder: At least one person was attacked, beaten, or tortured for online posts in 26 countries, with fatalities in five countries, often in retaliation for the exposure of human rights abuses. Dozens of online journalists were killed in Syria, and several were murdered in Mexico. In Egypt, several Facebook group administrators were abducted and beaten, and security forces targeted citizen journalists during protests.

6. Surveillance: Although some interception of communications may be necessary for fighting crime or combating terrorism, surveillance powers are increasingly abused for political ends. Governments in 35 countries upgraded their technical or legal surveillance powers over the past year.

7. Takedown and deletion requests: Governments or individuals can ask companies to take down illegal content, usually with judicial oversight. But takedown requests that bypass the courts and simply threaten legal action or other reprisals have become an effective censorship tool in numerous countries like Russia and Azerbaijan, where bloggers are threatened with job loss or detention for refusing to delete information.

8. Blocking social media and communications apps: 19 countries completely blocked YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or other ICT apps, either temporarily or permanently, over the past year. Communications services such as Skype, Viber, and WhatsApp were also targeted, either because they are more difficult to monitor or for threatening the revenue of established telecommunications companies.

9. Intermediary liability: In 22 countries, intermediaries—such as internet service providers, hosting services, webmasters, or forum moderators—are held legally liable for content posted by others, giving them a powerful incentive to censor their customers. Companies in China hire whole divisions to monitor and delete tens of millions of messages a year.

10. Throttling or shutting down service: Governments that control the telecommunications infrastructure can cut off or deliberately slow (throttle) internet or mobile access, either regionally or nationwide. Several shutdowns occurred in Syria over the past year, while services in parts of China, India, and Venezuela were temporarily suspended amid political events or social unrest.

Source

[REPORT] Redefining Information Warfare Boundaries for an Army in a Wireless World
Date Created: January 16, 2013  Date Modified: January 16, 2013

An old proverb: You don’t defeat nations with armies, you defeat them with ideas; Its a sad state of the internet when one nation spends more money on defence than all nations on earth combined, and consider the digital realm to be their battleground.

As a term, information warfare, or IW, remains in use worldwide, in the militaries of other countries as well as in some of the U.S. military services. The Navy now has an IW officer position, which it advertises as involving “attacking, defending and exploiting networks to capitalize on vulnerabilities in the information environment” (U.S. Navy, undated)…

…Social networks, as part of the information environment, are also a part of such conflicts or struggles. As noted by LTG Michael Vane, “Army forces operate in and among human populations, facing hybrid threats that are innovative, networked, and technologically-savvy” (TRADOC, 2010a, p. i). Internet-assisted social networking is now a part of the operational environment, as events in Egypt, Moldova, Iran, and even Pittsburgh have made clear. Social networks are a growing and increasingly relevant element of the information environment…

…Harkening back to the birth of the information operations concept out of command and control warfare in the late 1990s, this doctrine aggregates the areas of electronic warfare (EW), computer network operations (CNO), psychological operations (PSYOP), military deception (MILDEC), and operations security (OPSEC) as core capabilities, despite the fact that some of these concepts are quite dissimilar.
http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/MG1100/MG1113/RAND_MG1113.pdf

As net citizens, as world citizens; we need to fight this war on ideas with bigger and better ideas. The IP is mightyer than the sword.

[REPORT] Crisis and Escalation in Cyberspace
Date Created: January 10, 2013  Date Modified: January 10, 2013

RAND released this report Crisis and Escalation in Cyberspace, which focuses on state sponsored cyberoperations…

In the past 20 years, there have been plenty of instances of cybercrime and cyberespionage. But there have been only three and a half cyberattacks that could even conceivably rise to the level of a cyberwar: the DDOS attacks against Estonia in 2007, a similar attack on Georgia in 2008, the Stuxnet worm (2009–2010), and perhaps a cyberattack on Syria radar prefatory to an Israeli air strike on a supposed nuclear reactor in 2007. 20 Of these, all but one (Stuxnet) was unaccompanied by violence, which tends to create its own tensions. In part for this reason, none of these engendered a cybercrisis of the sort discussed here. As for generalizations about computer intrusion, they are based on reported cases; they exclude unreported proprietary or classified material.http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2012/RAND_MG1215.pdf

I feel that they are ignoring a few other incidents, but it is RAND so they would be unlikley to bring up Fukishima.

The first instinct of the policymakers was to get ahead of the crisis by taking ownership of it; this they did by constantly pressing for new powers. Extraordinary powers, of course, require extraordinary circumstances to justify…

False flag much??

[BOOK] Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet
Date Created: December 1, 2012  Date Modified: December 1, 2012

Yesterday Cryptome published the firs 7 pages of Julian Assange’s new book Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet, which emphasises the need for encryption and the publics complacency in the downfall of internet freedoms.

The world is not sliding, but galloping into a new transnational dystopia. This development has not been properly recognized outside of national security circles. It has been hidden by secrecy, complexity and scale. The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen. The internet is a threat to human civilization.

These transformations have come about silently, because those who know what is going on work in the global surveillance industry and have no incentives to speak out. Left to its own trajectory, within a few years, global civilization will be a postmodern surveillance dystopia, from which escape for all but the most skilled individuals will be impossible. In fact, we may already be there.

I have not read the book in entirety, so I can not make a review, but these sentiments are similar to those many of us in the internet industry hold. I look forward to receiving my copy and I really hope it presents a lot of information not already known to myself, but even in the absence of that I am optimistic that the sale price contributes to the legal fund for Assange’s eventual freedom.

[REPORT] Digital Freedoms in International Law
Date Created: October 29, 2012  Date Modified: October 29, 2012

Released Monday from Global Network Initiative, is the following report Digital Freedoms in International Law, which addresses many of the issues relating to protecting human rights on-line. It looks into state driven censorship in oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and it also highlights the lack of accountability corporations have in the digital eco-system when it comes to human rights violations:

…there are special problems in applying law generally, and human rights law in particular, to the new global, digital environment. Laws are still mainly drawn up for an environment with clearly defined territorial jurisdictions. And much of the control over the Internet rests in the hands of private companies, whereas traditional human rights law almost entirely focused on states. This raises problems of both “prescriptive” and “enforcement” jurisdiction, and of “privatised” (or semi-­-privatised) law enforcement, without adequate remedies.
Page 14

Also mentioned is the corporate sectors willingness to comply with take down requests, and that they have a moral obligation not to facilitate such:

companies should think in advance of possible risks arising from undue state demands made upon them, and they should take measures – including technical measures – to try and make it possible for them to deny or at least minimise their cooperation. They must afterwards help the victims of their enforced cooperation with such allegedly undue and illegal state actions, to alleviate the harm done as much as possible.
Page 23

I would however suggest that it is the corporate interests manipulating the states; tho this might be me speaking from a political, rather than a legal perspective.

I’ll wait for it to come out on eBook in the past
Date Created: October 7, 2012  Date Modified: October 7, 2012

The Idiot BoxSome folk are still end-users of the 20thC technology known as television, I dont hold too much animosity to those users as we cant always be connected to an IP. Anyway, those folk may have seen a program Underground on one of the networks last night, about a young software developer and activist known as Julian Assange.

Not being one to make use of the broadcast protocol, I will wait for the story to come out on eBook in the past.

From the Forward (Pastward?)

By releasing this book for free on the Net, I’m hoping more people
will not only enjoy the story of how the international computer
underground rose to power, but also make the journey into the minds
of hackers involved. When I first began sketching out the book’s
structure, I decided to go with depth. I wanted the reader to
think, ’NOW I understand, because I too was there.’ I hope those
words will enter your thoughts as you read this electronic book.

http://suelette.home.xs4all.nl/underground/Underground.pdf
Copyright © 1997, 2001 Suelette Dreyfus & Julian Assange

I’m intending to spend a good deal of the day researching Australian Defamation laws involving politicians… because I dont have enough experience in that already.

[REORT] Delivered Into Enemy Hands US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya
Date Created: October 7, 2012  Date Modified: October 7, 2012

Human Rights Watch, an international human rights watch-dog released a report this month on the United States involvement in the torture of Libyan nationals, while in US custody. The report exposes some of the inaccuracies reported in the mainstream media by examining evidence of the Tripoli Documents and testimony from individuals released from Libyan prisons after Qaddafi’s overthrow.

From the page #6:

Al-Libi’s case is significant, among other reasons, because the United States relied on statements obtained through his interrogation while in CIA custody to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq: Al-Libi died in a Libyan prison in 2009—a suicide, according to Libyan authorities at the time—so it is difficult to obtain information about him today. But by talking to family members and others detained with him in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Libya, Human Rights Watch has pieced together some new details about al-Libi’s time in CIA custody and circumstances
surrounding his death. Human Rights Watch also observed photos of al-Libi that Libyan prison officials appear to have taken on the morning of his death which allegedly depict him in the manner he was found in his cell. The photos show bruising on parts of his body.

Im lost for comment, thats why this has been sitting in the drafts for so long. I decided to publish after checking WT…