Version 1.5b Castle in the Sky

lecture: Graphs, Drones & Phones

The role of social-graphs for Drones in the War on Terror.

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The military use of Drones has profoundly changed warfare and is a central aspect of the globalized war on terror. The public debate including the respective talks at prior CCCs is dominated by questions of the ethical and juridical aspects of Drone use.

This talk tries to shift the focus towards the enabling dimensions of Drone warfare.

Using source material from public documents of academia, the US-military as well as from the Snowden publications I will show that Social Graphs and graph-analysis are central for the War on Terror.

In this context Drones have at least two functions: 1. they act as data-gatheres, collecting visual and SIGINT (phone) data necessary for graph-generation and -updates. 2. they are deployed to shape Social Graphs: that is destroy particular nodes with kinetic means where the kill decision are made on the basis of graph analysis.

I will show that there is a rich academic literature on graph analysis of terror networks revealing an ongoing debate about algorithms able to inform such decisions.

On this basis I will argue that in the War on Terror Drones and Social-Graphs need to be understood as interdependent systems and that the debate needs to be informed by a deeper understanding of the history and current state of graph-analysis.

The talk will conclude with questions regarding the strategic and geopolitical role of Social Graphs.


Day: 2015-12-29
Start time: 12:45
Duration: 01:00
Room: Hall 6
Track: Ethics, Society & Politics
Language: en



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