Launch of Three New PaCCS Policy Briefings
In March 2016, we brought together a group of academics, Government policy-makers, technologists, engineers, practitioners and representatives from Industry and Non-Governmental Organisations to discuss findings from security-related research including Science and Security – a programme of research jointly sponsored by ESRC, AHRC and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), under the Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research (PaCCS).
Our workshop explored the impact of new technologies on the defence and security sectors, focusing on questions of governance, ethics and the law. This has led to the production of three new PaCCS Policy Briefings* on:
(*Please click on the titles or images to view each of them)
• Open Source Data: the explosive spread of Internet and Social Media services has created a cyberspace ecology that is metaphorically plagued with pitfalls to harm the innocent and fogbanks that allow criminals to operate with impunity. The global nature of this new infrastructure, crossing national and cultural boundaries, creates problems not only in terms of establishing a coherent legal framework but also in finding common ground given different attitudes to rights and values around the world such as freedom of speech or rights to anonymity.
• The Governance of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV): different challenges arise from different categories of UAV (larger ones procured by states to carry weapons and surveillance systems in support of military operations; smaller, low-cost ones which could be used by terrorists). Public perceptions about their use are entangled with separate ethical questions (eg around strikes against targets in ungoverned spaces), and uncertainties over future scientific developments (eg the creation of Lethal Autonomous Weapons).
• Social Media and the Armed Forces: The research shows the speed with which digital technologies have swept through the British Armed Forces, impacting on operations, morale, and security. A notable feature of this change is the generation gap between younger personnel who are familiar with such technologies and an older generation who are struggling to take on board the full implications (positive and negative). The implications for the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations and defence policy-making are significant.
All three Briefings carry recommendations in response to challenges that have been identified. The strength of these documents derives from the way in which research insight has been debated by policy-makers and practitioners, giving a credibility and authority to our recommendations which deserve serious attention.