Knowledgebase

Number of results: 159

Data derivatives: On the emergence of a security risk calculus for our times

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Theory, Society & Culture, 28(6): 24-43
Abstract: 

In a quiet London office, a software designer muses on the algorithms that will make possible the risk flags to be visualized on the screens of border guards from Heathrow to St Pancras Internation

al. There is, he says, ‘real time decision making’ – to detain, to deport, to secondarily question or search – but there is also the ‘offline team who run the analytics and work out the best set of rules’. Writing the code that will decide the association rules between items of data, prosaic and mundane – flight route, payment type, passport – the analysts derive a novel preemptive security measure. This paper proposes the analytic of the data derivative – a visualized risk flag or score drawn from an amalgam of disaggregated fragments of data, inferred from across the gaps between data and projected onto an array of uncertain futures. In contrast to disciplinary and enclosed techniques of collecting data to govern population, the data derivative functions via ‘differential curves of normality’, imagining a range of potential futures through the association rule, thus ‘opening up to let things happen’ (Foucault, 2007). In some senses akin to the risk orientation of the financial derivative, itself indifferent to actual underlying people, places or events by virtue of modulated norms, the contemporary security derivative is not centred on who we are, nor even on what our data say about us, but on what can be imagined and inferred about who we might be – on our very proclivities and potentialities.

On the Brink – From Mutual Deterrence to Uncontrollable War

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Contretemps: An online Journal of Philosophy, 4 (September): 2-18
Abstract: 

In this paper, I trace the transition from post World War II models of economic and strategic decision-making to the neo-liberal discourse of risk.

From mutual deterrence to the war on terror, from welfare state economics to free-market neo-liberalism; what is at stake, I will suggest, is a profound rethinking of the logistics of risk, prediction and (in)security. While both 20th century models of risk confront a future overshadowed by the spectre of catastrophe (the nuclear bomb as a harbinger of total war), they propose radically different solutions for dealing with its possible occurrence. At the dawn of the 21st century, the notion that economic and strategic risk can be insured against, averted or controlled is becoming less and less plausible for the theorists of neo-liberalism. In place of the actuarial model of risk management which dominated the post war Bretton Woods period, neo-liberalism promotes the virtues of speculative risk. 

Potential Politics and the Primacy of Preemption

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Theory and Event 10 (2).
Abstract: 

The doctrine of preemption would lead the United States from the invasion of Afghanistan to the War in Iraq, and carry Bush himself to reelection in 2004.

It would also lead, after another two short but eventful years, to the dramatic defeat of the President’s party in the 2006 mid-term elections. The most immediate casualty of that defeat would be Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the individual most identified in the public’s mind with the doctrine of preemption and its translation into action in Iraq. 

The reaction to the North Korean government’s October 2006 announcement that it had tested a nuclear weapon, seemed to be another sign that the Bush administration’s defining doctrine of preemption was fast becoming history. For here was a “fully materialized” threat, and the Bush administration was not rushing to take a unilateral “path to action.” Instead, it was emphasizing just the kind of multilateral, non-military response it had brushed aside in its rush to invade Iraq. At the same time, Bush also changed his tune on Iraq and reinterpreted the mantra he had intoned for months. “Stay the course,” he said, really meant “don’t leave before the job is done,” and getting the job done, he continued, sometimes means “change tactics.”

The President’s own admission of the need for a change and the Democrats’ subsequent regaining of control of both houses of Congress led many to the conclusion that the direction of the country was about to take a major turn.

Preemption, Precaution, Preparedness: Anticipatory Action and Future Geographies

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Progress in Human Geography, 34(6): 777-798
Abstract: 

The paper focuses on how futures are anticipated and acted on in relation to a set of events that are taken to threaten liberal democracies.

Across different domains of life the future is now problematized as a disruption, a surprise. This problematization of the future as indeterminate or uncertain has been met with an extraordinary proliferation of anticipatory action. The paper argues that anticipatory action works through the assembling of: styles through which the form of the future is disclosed and related to; practices that render specific futures present; and logics through which anticipatory action is legitimized, guided and enacted.

Serious Games

Document type: 
Technology Trend card
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Fraunhofer for the SOURCE project
Abstract: 

1 page fact sheet on the technology trends of Serious Gaming

“Serious Games” are a special type of games which beside mere entertainment are designed to share and teach specific knowledge or train specific skills; an early example are flight simulators. Sometimes the main purpose of such games is also to foster a discussion on a complex subject to gain new insights.

Emergency Management Information Systems

Document type: 
Technology Trend card
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Fraunhofer for the SOURCE project
Abstract: 

1 page fact sheet on the technology trends of Emergency Management Information Systems (EMIS)

Emergency management information systems (EMIS) are complex IT tools to support decision making during emergency situations by enhancing the situational awareness of disaster management teams. It supports the management of infrastructures, as well as all affected parties (such as first responders and affected civilians) by real-time, collaborative group decision making. EMIS are also used for risk mitigation and recovery actions.

Non-lethal electromagnetic weapons for crowd control

Document type: 
Technology Trend card
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Fraunhofer for the SOURCE project
Abstract: 

1 page sheet on the technology trends of non-lethal electromagnetic weapons for crowd control

Electromagnetic weapons for use against humans have been developed in the USA. They use millimeter-waves of 95 GHz that penetrate only the upper layer of the human skin where they cause a burning sensation. Goal of these weapons is to repel target subjects without inducing burn injuries.

Research for Civil Security Social Dimensions of Security Research

Document type: 
Report
Publisher / Publication: 
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Abstract: 

From 2007 to the start of 2012, the Federal Government
has been supporting the development of innovative
technologies in order to protect the population

against such occurrences in an effective manner as part
of its “High-Tech strategy for Germany”. Over 278 million
euros have been made available for this “Research
for Civil Security” programme until the beginning of
2012. The aims of these projects are the early detection
of threats to the population and the environment, the
prevention of risks, and the limitation of possible consequences.

Research for Civil Security 2012 – 2017

Document type: 
Report
Publisher / Publication: 
German Federal Minister of Education and Research
Abstract: 

This brochure gives readers an insight into the “Research for civil security 2012-2017” framework programme.

With its “Research for Civil Security” framework programme, the Federal Government is investing in tomorrow’s security. The framework programme thus implements the goals of the “High-Tech Strategy 2020 for Germany”, which includes security as one of five demand fields that are guiding the Federal Government’s innovation policy activities.

The focus here is on solutions which guarantee the protection of the population and of critical infrastructures against threats arising from terrorism, sabotage, organised crime, piracy or the consequences of natural disasters and major accidents, and which contribute to the protection of our liberal way of life.

FUTURE THREAT SCENARIOS FOR IDENTIFYING SOCIETAL SECURITY NEEDS – THE METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH BASED ON EUROPEAN PROJECT ETTIS

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
Future Security 2014
Abstract: 

This paper outlines the methodology of developing scenarios in the context of security
that can be used as a base for meeting societal challenges today. These challenges

are seen in handling of threats that might occur in the future which is described in
alternative scenarios. These scenarios represent different combinations of alternative
developments and trends in politics, economics, technology and society. Handling
threats that might affect the society implies finding solutions. The usual way in foresight
activities and technology assessment, in particular in the field of security, lies in
outlining solution-oriented options and recommendations for arising challenges. For the
project ETTIS (European Trends and Threats in Society), this approach was modified
by integrating the need-perspective. This need-oriented approach for deriving solutions
ought to address the actual needs of the society in order to find the appropriate
solutions and can be seen as an intermediate step between the identification of threats
and solutions. The analysis to date has shown that the involved experts have very
different perceptions of threats as well as security needs: (i) There is a difficulty to
define what is the difference between needs and solutions. (ii) There are conflicts and
cross influences between needs. (iii) Finally, despite the different framework conditions
in scenarios, the resulting needs do not vary significantly in different scenarios,
however the impact differs between them and is significantly higher or lower.

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