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Category Archives: Technology

The Navy’s Scary New Death Ray

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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Got a problem with Iranian UAVs threatening your ships? Want to remotely start fires on small boats? The US Navy has just what you need: the 30 kilowatt-class Laser Weapon System (LaWS). Defense News reports that the US Navy debuted the system this past August on the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport ship currently based . . .
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NYT on Autonomous Weapons and Ways to Regulate Them

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 1:08 PM

The New York Times has a useful article today on autonomous weapon systems and debate about their regulation.  The issue is also on the discussion agenda this week in Geneva for the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapon.  The Times article says: Warfare is increasingly guided by software. Today, armed drones can be operated by . . .
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Dronestagram

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Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Stumbling around the internet last night, I found this gem: Dronestagram. It’s exactly what you would think; a free, user-built collection of videos and pictures shot by drones from all around the world. In this great little project you can… Take part in the “Drone de France”: Or, tour the rest of the world with . . .
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Look Who Else Has Drones: ISIS and Al Nusra

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Friday, October 24, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Since the introduction of drone technology to the battlefield, countless academics, policymakers, and military planners have pondered a disturbing question: what happens when other countries or non-state actors have access to them? In Syria, we may be starting to see the effects that the dissemination of drone technology will mean for the future of war. In . . .
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Hawk v. Drone

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Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Excellent!

New Tech and National Security Law — 3D Printing Redux

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Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Just as Ben seems taken with Drone technology, I’ve become a fan of 3D Printing (otherwise known as Additive Manufacturing) and its national security implications.    And it’s becoming a bit of a “thing” here in Washington DC as the 2nd Annual Additive Manufacturing for Government conference later this year will attest.  But the real attraction . . .
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Drone Dance

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Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Austrian drone-swarm dance with lights. Very cool.

Government Files Reply in Klayman v. Obama, ACLU Moves to Participate in Oral Argument

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 9:20 AM

On Friday the government filed its response and reply brief in Klayman v. Obama, (1) arguing that the Judge Richard Leon erred in granting plaintiff-appellee-cross-appellants a preliminary injunction against Section 215 bulk telephony-metadata collection and (2) countering Klayman et al.’s cross-appeal for additional preliminary injunctive relief against government programs that involve “internet data surveillance activity.” Most of . . .
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The FBI’s Facial Recognition Program

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Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Earlier this week, the FBI announced the completion of its “next generation” facial recognition program.  The system, now “fully operational” will house more than 52 million faces, which (assuming no duplication) is roughly 1 in 6 Americans.  The system is said to be only moderately effective — it will typically return 50 possible matches for . . .
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Readings: Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Autonomous Weapon Systems

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 12:08 AM

We are pleased to share our recently published article on law and autonomous weapons, on which we teamed up with our good friend Daniel Reisner (formerly head of the Israel Defense Forces International Law Department). The article, “Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Autonomous Weapon Systems,” appears as 90 International Law Studies 386 (2014), . . .
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Happening Now: The Future of Civilian Robotics

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Monday, September 15, 2014 at 1:43 PM

At the top of the hour, Ben will host a conversation at the Brookings Institution with Wells Bennett, John Villasenor, and Gregory McNeal on The Future of Civilian Robotics. We hope you will join us for a lively discussion of the many civil liberties, privacy, legal, and regulatory issues rapid advances in robotics present. You may also find . . .
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Drones and Democracy: A Response to Firmin DeBrabander

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Monday, September 15, 2014 at 8:10 AM

The New York Times has an oped this morning by a philosophy professor named Firmin DeBrabander worrying that drone warfare heralds the end of democracy in America. No, I am not making that up or even exaggerating. Here’s its conclusion: Most American citizens are quick to let someone or something else bear the brunt of our . . .
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Cyborgs! Law and Policy Implications

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Friday, September 5, 2014 at 10:27 AM

And now for something completely different: Cyborgs. No, this is not a joke. For years, certain technology enthusiasts have floated variations on the question of whether we are becoming cyborgs—or already are cyborgs. In our newly released paper, titled “Our Cyborg Future: Law and Policy Implications,” we take a different, more legal angle. The law remains embryonic on . . .
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Readings: Geoffrey Corn on Autonomous Weapons

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Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I’m pleased to note that Lawfare’s good friend Geoff Corn has entered into the public discussion of autonomous weapon systems (AWS) with a new paper posted to SSRN, “Autonomous Weapon Systems: Legal Consequences of ‘Taking the Man Out of the Loop’.”  The paper is a relatively rough working draft, but it raises a number of . . .
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Readings: Laurie Blank on Proportionality in Jus in Bello in Israel-Hamas Conflict, a Primer

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Friday, August 1, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Laurie Blank (Emory University Law School professor, director of its law of armed conflict clinic and, of course, well known to many Lawfare readers as a prominent scholar of LOAC) has an opinion column up at TheHill.com–a primer on the meaning of proportionality in the conduct of hostilities in the law of armed conflict, what it . . .
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What The Court Didn’t Say in Riley May be the Most Important Thing of All

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Monday, June 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Riley v. California that searching a cell phone requires a warrant is groundbreaking—and is, as everyone says, a great step forward for privacy. The decision is notable for what it does say, including: The United States asserts that a search of all data stored on a cell phone is “materially indistinguishable” . . .
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The US Intervention in Iraq Involves More than the 300: Armed Drones Above, Armed Contractors Below?

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Friday, June 27, 2014 at 9:43 PM

I’m surprised this hasn’t generated more attention: First, an article in the New York Times yesterday mentioned, right at the very end, the possibility that in addition to the 300 special operators headed back to Iraq there might also be more than a 1000 armed contractors accompanying them to pull security detail: Two Iraqi advisers . . .
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Report of the Stimson Center Task Force on Drone Policy

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Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 3:27 PM

The Stimson Center released today the report of its Task Force on US Drone Policy.  The ten-member task force, of which I was a member, was chaired by General John Abizaid and Rosa Brooks.   The report makes eight recommendations for overhauling US drone strategy; improving oversight, accountability, transparency and clarifying the international legal framework applicable . . .
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Readings: The Diffusion of Drone Warfare: Industrial, Infrastructural and Organizational Constraints by Andrea Gilli and Mauro Gilli

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Political science graduate students Andrea Gilli (European Union Institute, Florence) and Mauro Gilli (Northwestern University, Evanston) have posted a new and provocative paper to SSRN–“The Diffusion of Drone Warfare: Industrial, Infrastructural and Organizational Constraints.” I read this paper when first posted to SSRN some weeks back, but I waited to discuss it in a Readings post . . .
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Commentary on Bond

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Curt Bradley’s thoughts are at AJIL Unbound, the Volokh Conspiracy has commentary by Nick Rosenkranz and Ilya Somin, and Jean Galbraith and Peter Spiro weigh in at Opinio Juris.