Digital Peacekeepers, Drone Surveillance and Information Fusion

A Philosophical Analysis of New Peacekeeping

in Theoria
Author:
Lisa Portmess Gettysburg College lportmes@gettysburg.edu

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Bassam Romaya University of Massachusetts Lowell Bassam_Romaya@uml.edu

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In June 2014 an Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping was commissioned to examine how technology and innovation could strengthen peacekeeping missions. The panel's report argues for wider deployment of advanced technologies, including greater use of ground and airborne sensors and other technical sources of data, advanced data analytics and information fusion to assist in data integration. This article explores the emerging intelligence-led, informationist conception of UN peacekeeping against the backdrop of increasingly complex peacekeeping mandates and precarious security conditions. New peacekeeping with its heightened commitment to information as a political resource and the endorsement of offensive military action within robust mandates reflects the multiple and conflicting trajectories generated by asymmetric conflicts, the responsibility to protect and a technology-driven information revolution. We argue that the idea of peacekeeping is being revised (and has been revised) by realities beyond peacekeeping itself that require rethinking the morality of peacekeeping in light of the emergence of 'digital peacekeeping' and the knowledge revolution engendered by new technologies.

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Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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