Quote of the Day

77. If used in strict compliance with the principles of international humanitarian law, remotely piloted aircraft are capable of reducing the risk of civilian casualties in armed conflict by significantly improving the situational awareness of military commanders. – From the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ben ...

An Expansion of the Science Fictions of Dronephobia

Over at Beacon, I discussed why so many opponents to drones segue into science fiction to make their case — a habit that is actually poisonous to reasoned debate about kinetic policies and how they can be reformed to better safeguard civilian lives. When they were first invented war planes were terrifying, not just in the sense ...

Quote of the Day

“The alternative to journalists making those decisions is, okay we’ll hand it all over to secret courts, and secret committees, and no one will ever know about these balances that are being struck. And the intelligence committee in the UK, I think, its members have been handpicked by the Prime Minister, and you have to ...

Interview: Obama’s New Foreign Policy

Interview: Obama's New Foreign Policy
For Radio 4′s The World Tonight, err, last night, I talked with Ritula Shah about Obama’s new direction in counter terrorism. Audio link is here.

The Coming Lethal Autonomous Future

Though I’ve spoken of their potential upsides, there are still a lot of challenges to overcome before any lethal autonomous robot is ever deployed. For Defense One, I explore some of them: Drones have been hackable for years. In 2009, defense officials told reporters that Iranian-backed militias used $26 of off-the-shelf software to intercept the ...

Capturing Terrorists is Hard

Over at Beacon (subscribe here!), I explain why capturing terrorists is so difficult. The politics of capturing terrorists can be challenging for two reasons: the governments in question may not agree on custody of the prisoner, and in many cases the local government is extremely sensitive to any action involving U.S. boots on the ground. ...

Revenge of Meatspace

Over at War is Boring, I wrote about the arrest of Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht. On Wednesday, the FBI announced a fascinating arrest: they had nabbed Dread Pirate Roberts, or DPR, the founder of Silk Road, a black-market Website famous for selling narcotics over the Web. In the indictment, the Bureau listed activities worthy ...

Challenges facing the IC in InfoSec

Over at TPM, I wrote a feature article about the looming cultural clash between hackers and the intel community. For the Intelligence Community, Snowden was a scary example of someone who once believed in the government’s position but had turned, suddenly it seemed, resolutely against it. Technology website Ars Technica dug up enthusiastic old posts ...

BEACON: A Broken Political System

My latest piece for Beacon is about how the shut down is only the latest crisis of legitimacy for the federal government. What the GOP is saying through its shutdown gambit is that it has decided to reject the system of American government. When the politics don’t break their way — and when they lose ...

Robo-Ethics: Do Autonomous Weapons Pose Greater Ethical Dangers or Rewards? (Video)

Robo-Ethics: Do Autonomous Weapons Pose Greater Ethical Dangers or Rewards? (Video)
I had the tremendous pleasure this week of visiting the Naval Postgraduate School, where I participated in a discussion with Dr. Heather Roff and Dr. Bradley Strawser about the ethics, morality, legality, and practical implications of allowing weapons to autonomously make lethal decisions. The full session is below:   [LINK IS HERE]   I’ll be writing ...