Knowledgebase

Number of results: 301

Conflicting messages? The IPCC on conflict and human security

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
Political Geography, 43: 82-90
Abstract: 

Violence seems to be on a long-term decline in the international system.

The possibility that climate change would create more violent conflict was mentioned in scattered places in the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2001 and 2007 respectively. The empirical literature testing for relationships between climate change and various forms of conflict has undergone a major expansion since then. The report from Working Group II of the Fifth Assessment Report contains a much more careful assessment of the climate change-conflict nexus. The Human security chapter reports high agreement and robust evidence that human security will be progressively threatened as the climate changes. But as far as the impact on armed conflict is concerned, it paints a balanced picture, concluding that while individual studies vary in their conclusions, ‘collectively the research does not conclude that there is a strong positive relationship between warming and armed conflict’. The chapter also argues that climate change is likely to have an influence on some known drivers of conflict, and this point is reiterated in other chapters as well as the Technical summary and the Summary for policymakers. A chapter on ‘Emergent trends …’ has a somewhat more dramatic conclusion regarding a climate-conflict link, as does the Africa chapter, while a methods chapter on ‘Detection and attribution’ dismisses the climate-change-to-violence link. The entire report is suffused with terms like ‘may’, ‘has the potential to’, and other formulations without any indication of a level of probability. Overall, the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC does not support the view that climate change is an important threat to the long-term waning of war. Still, the report opens up for conflicting interpretations and overly alarmist media translations.

Societal Security and Social Psychology

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Review of International Studies, 29 (2): 249-268
Abstract: 

The concept of societal security as developed by the Copenhagen school has three underlying weaknesses: a tendency to reify societies as independent social agents, a use of too vague a definition o

f ‘identity’, and a failure to demonstrate sufficiently that social security matters to individuals. This article shows that applying social identity theory to the societal security concept helps remedy these weaknesses and closes the theoretical gaps that the Copenhagen school has left open. It enables us to treat ‘society’ as an independent variable without reifying it as an independent agent. It also suggests a much sharper definition of identity, and a rationale for the Copenhagen school's claim that individuals have a psychological need to achieve societal security by protecting their group boundaries. Social identity theory thus supports the societal security concept in its central assumptions while giving it stronger theoretical foundations and greater analytical clout.

Big Data and smart devices and their impact on privacy

Document type: 
Report
Publisher / Publication: 
Directorate General for Internal Policies: Policy Department C: Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)
Abstract: 

The numerous debates triggered by the increased collection and processing of personal data for various - and often unaccountable - purposes are particularly vivid at the EU level.

Two interlinked, and to some extent conflicting, initiatives are relevant here: the development of EU strategies promoting a data-driven economy and the current reform of the EU personal data protection legal framework in the context of the adoption of a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In this context, and focusing on the development of Big Data practices, smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), this Study shows that the high degree of opacity of many contemporary data processing activities directly affects the right of the individuals to know what is being done with the data collected about them. This Study argues that the promotion of a data- driven economy should not underestimate the challenges raised for privacy and personal data protection and that strengthening the rights of digital citizens should be the main focus of the current debates around the GDPR. 

The law enforcement challenges of cybercrime: are we really playing catch-up?

Document type: 
Report
Publisher / Publication: 
Directorate General for Internal Policies: Policy Department C: Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)
Abstract: 

With a number of high-profile criminal cases, such as ‘Silk Road’, cybercrime has been very much in the spotlight in recent years, both in Europe and elsewhere.

While this study shows that cybercrime poses significant challenges for law enforcement, it also argues that the key cybercrime concern for law enforcement is legal rather than technical and technological. The study further underlines that the European Parliament is largely excluded from policy development in the field of cybercrime, impeding public scrutiny and accountability. 

Cyber Security in the European Union and Beyond: Exploring the Threats and Policy Responses

Document type: 
Report
Publisher / Publication: 
Directorate General for Internal Policies: Policy Department C: Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)
Abstract: 

This study sets out to develop a better understanding of the main cybersecurity threats and existing cybersecurity capabilities in the European Union and the United States.

The study further examines transnational cooperation and explores perceptions of the effectivness of the EU response, pinpointing remaining challenges and suggesting avenues for improvement. 

EU border security and migration into the European Union: FRONTEX and securitisation through practices

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
European Security, 19 (2): 231-254
Abstract: 

This article examines the contribution of the activities of FRONTEX, the Agency in charge of managing operational cooperation at the external borders of the European Union (EU), to the securitisati

on of asylum and migration in the EU. It does so by applying a sociological approach to the study of securitisation processes, which, it argues, is particularly well-suited to the study of securitisation processes in the EU. Such an approach privileges the study of securitising practices over securitising ‘speech acts’ in securitisation processes. After identifying two main types of securitising practices in general, the article systematically examines the activities of FRONTEX and the extent to which they can be seen as securitising practices on the basis of these two (non-mutually exclusive) criteria. The article shows that all the main activities of FRONTEX can be considered to be securitising practices. The article therefore concludes that the activities of FRONTEX contribute to a significant extent to the ongoing securitisation of asylum and migration in the EU. It also highlights that this does not automatically make FRONTEX a significant securitising actor in its own right and that more research is needed on the relations between FRONTEX and the EU institutions, especially in the light of the current negotiations aiming to amend the founding Regulation of FRONTEX.

Policing Uncertainty: Intelligence, Security and Risk

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Intelligence and National Security, 27 (2): 187-205
Abstract: 

Today, the idea of risk is ubiquitous, a presence in debates across a range of fields, from investment banking to politics, from anthropology and sociology to health, environmental and cultural stu

dies. While this ubiquity attests to the importance of the concept it is at the same time a potential weakness in that it injects the term into a wide range of debates in each of which its meaning can be subject to different emphases and meanings. The notion of risk is of obvious importance to security intelligence, but here too its ubiquity has had an impact on specificity of meaning. While the term is widely used in both the profession and study of intelligence, its usage can carry different meanings and it can be used interchangeably with linked terms. Given the importance of the idea of risk to intelligence, clarity of meaning is essential. This article sets out to consider the meaning of, and relationship between, uncertainty and risk in a security intelligence context, propose a framework on which a common understanding can be built, and illustrate how this can help in thinking about the nature and role of security intelligence.

Internal and External Aspects of Security

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
European Security, 15 (4): 385-404
Abstract: 

This contribution analyses the merging of internal and external aspects of security.

Whereas according to the ‘doxa’ emerging after 11 September 2001, such convergence is the logical and necessary answer to global terrorism, this article argues instead that the de-differentiation between internal and external security does not result from the transformation of political violence, but mainly from institutional games and practices of securitisation that define the importance of security as superior to sovereignty and freedom. A web of security institutions has developed beyond national borders, and policing at a distance has disentangled security from state sovereignty. The question of who is in charge of security is now tackled at the transnational level, generating competition among professionals of politics and (in)security over the existence of threats and legitimate answers to them. Moreover, the role of technology, especially concerning information exchange, has reinforced the importance of security professionals. The impact of Europeanisation has been central as it has formalised transnational ties between security professionals, and the emergence of European institutions in charge of fundamental rights and data protection may provide a space to discuss collectively who is entitled to define what constitutes a threat.

Theorizing Surveillance: The Panopticon and Beyond

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Routledge
Abstract: 

This book is about explaining surveillance processes and practices in contemporary society.

Surveillance studies is a relatively new multi-disciplinary enterprise that aims to understand who watches who, how the watched participate in and sometimes question their surveillance, why surveillance occurs, and with what effects. This book brings together some of the world's leading surveillance scholars to discuss the "why" question. The field has been dominated, since the groundbreaking work of Michel Foucault, by the idea of the panopticon and this book explores why this metaphor has been central to discussions of surveillance, what is fruitful in the panoptic approach, and what other possible approaches can throw better light on the phenomena in question.Since the advent of networked computer databases, and especially since 9/11, questions of surveillance have come increasingly to the forefront of democratic, political and policy debates in the global north (and to an extent in the global south). Civil liberties, democratic participation and privacy are some of the issues that are raised by these developments. But little progress can be made in responding to these issues without an adequate understanding of how, how well and whether or not surveillance works. This book explores the theoretical questions in a way that is grounded in and attuned to empirical realities.

Security and Immigration: Toward a Critique of the Governmentality of Unease

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 27 (1): 63-92
Abstract: 

Some “critical” discourses generated by NGOs and academics assume that if people, politicians, governments, bureaucracies and journalists were more aware, they would change their minds about migrat

ion and begin to resist securitizing it. The primary problem, therefore, is ideological or discursive in that the securitization of migrants derives from the language itself and from the different capacities of various actors to engage in speech acts. In this context, the term “speech act” is used not in its technical Austinian sense, but metaphorically, to justify both the normative position of a speaker and the value of their critical discourse against the discourses of the security professionals. This understanding of critique reinforces the vision of a contest between ideas and norms, a contest in which academics can play a leading role. This essay seeks to avoid presenting the struggle as an ideological one between conserv- ative and liberal positions, or even as an “intertextual competition” between agencies in which academics have a key role. It examines why the discourses of securitization continue to be so powerful even when alternatives discourses are well known, and why the production of academic and alternative discourses has so little effect in either the political arena or in daily life. It emphasizes the work of politicization, of the mobilization of groups and technologies enabling some agents, especially political actors, the media, the security professionals and some sectors of the general population, to create a “truth” about the link between crime, unemployment, and migration, even when academics, churches, NGOs and some social policy oriented institutions have made powerful claims to the contrary for many years. 

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