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This Week at ISN 2013-12-13

This Week at ISN 2013-12-13

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Published by ISN Zurich
The political and security implications of social media have received considerable attention, but have we really experienced our first ‘Facebook Revolution’ yet? And furthermore, who benefits from social media? Yes, it facilitates political mobilization, particularly in non-democracies, but it’s now being used just as effectively by governments and large corporations that want to preserve the status quo. So, in Tunisia Facebook played a decisive role in revolutionary events, but in China social media continues to prop up an authoritarian state. And in the background, a wider question remains: are we making too much of all this? Didn’t traditional media, such as television, actually play a bigger role in the recent Arab uprisings?
The political and security implications of social media have received considerable attention, but have we really experienced our first ‘Facebook Revolution’ yet? And furthermore, who benefits from social media? Yes, it facilitates political mobilization, particularly in non-democracies, but it’s now being used just as effectively by governments and large corporations that want to preserve the status quo. So, in Tunisia Facebook played a decisive role in revolutionary events, but in China social media continues to prop up an authoritarian state. And in the background, a wider question remains: are we making too much of all this? Didn’t traditional media, such as television, actually play a bigger role in the recent Arab uprisings?

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Published by: ISN Zurich on Dec 13, 2013
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ETH ZurichInternational Relations and Security Network www.isn.ethz.ch
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This Week at ISNOur Weekly Editorial Roundup
09 – 13 December 2013JUMP TO
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Social Media and Security
The political and security implications of social media have received considerable attention, but have we really experiencedour first 'Facebook Revolution' yet? And furthermore, who benefits from social media? Yes, it facilitates political
 
mobilization, particularly in non-democracies, but it's now being used just as effectively by governments and large
 
corporations that want to preserve the status quo. So, in Tunisia Facebook played a decisive role in revolutionary events,
 
but in China social media continues to prop up an authoritarian state. And in the background, a wider question remains:
 
are we making too much of all this? Didn't traditional media, such as television, actually play a bigger role in the recent
 
 Arab uprisings?
09 December 2013
Has the spread of social media made it easier for groups to mobilize for political purposes? According to Jana Bridwell,there is a connection between the two phenomena. However, its impact is limited to those states where barriers to
 
collective action remain high. » More
10 December 2013
While citizen groups and hackers once held the advantage in cyberspace, the balance is now shifting towards the 'feudallords of the information age' - governments and large corporations. This intensifying battle between distributed and
 
institutional power, argues Bruce Schneier, points to big changes ahead. » More
11 December 2013
Was Tunisia's 2011 uprising a 'Facebook Revolution'? Absolutely, argues Yousri Marzouki. The cyber-battle won by theactivists and Facebook Corporation was critical to the success of the uprising. In fact, Facebook remains embedded in the
 
'political unconscious' of the Tunisian people. » More
12 December 2013
Why have some authoritarian regimes tolerated the spread of new communications technologies? If China is any example,
 
argues Nele Noesselt, it's because they're using social media to gauge public opinion, maintain their legitimacy, and avoid
 
having to make serious political reforms. » More
13 December 2013
Revolutionary movements and insurgencies have benefitted from social media, especially when it comes to recruitment,mobilization and information warfare. But has this media actually made political resistance more effective? Richard
 
Lindsay doesn't think so – it's traditional media that still has the upper hand. » More
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Security Watch
09 December 2013
China's newly-declared Air Defense Zone has escalated tensions in the East China Sea region. Today, Stratfor examinesthe motives behind Beijing's decision, its ability to enforce the zone, and budding US-Japanese efforts to preserve a
 
lapsing status quo. » More
10 December 2013
Why is the Taliban successfully recruiting new members from the Afghan government and armed forces? According JamiForbes and Brian Dudley, the group has developed a media-savvy PR campaign that offers, among other things, amnesty
 
to all new recruits. » More
 
11 December 2013
Should the EU have offered Ukraine 'membership candidacy' status as early as 2004? Not according to Stefan Meister.Because the Yushchenko regime was too weak to enact meaningful political reforms, the best that Brussels could offer at
 
the time were incentives that fell well below candidate status. » More
12 December 2013
The final withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan and Central Asia may result in an upsurge of narcotics trafficking,terrorism and other security challenges. So are the area's leading politicians working together to head this problem off at
 
the pass? Not according to Richard Weitz. » More
13 December 2013
 Are the Anonymous group's cyber-attacks against the Syrian government an act of war? And what do they reveal aboutnon-traditional interventions and the state of Internet governance? These are some of the questions tackled by CIGI's
 
Mark Raymond and Aaron Shull in today's questions and answers session. » More
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Blog
09 December 2013
When it comes to foreign policy, what should we expect from Germany's new Grand Coalition? Not much, says Olaf Boehnke. Angela Merkel remains fully in charge of Berlin's foreign affairs, and she continues to have little appetite for 
 
greater German roles in EU or NATO missions. » More
10 December 2013
 According to Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, the relatively poor turnout at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government
 
Meeting (COGM) highlights two key challenges facing Sri Lanka – 1) Colombo needs to heal the wounds from its violent
 
past, and 2) it needs to prove its democratic credentials. » More
11 December 2013
 As many as three billion people will be living in urban slums by 2015. For the aid agencies that are struggling to avoid an'urban crisis tipping point', this number represents a profound problem. Today, the IRIN looks at what they are doing to
 
identify this point and then avoid it. » More
12 December 2013
Jihadist activity in Italy was once the preserve of foreign-born militants. Not any more, says Lorenzo Vidino. Today, heoutlines how a new generation of homegrown radicals has altered the make-up of the country's small – but nonetheless
 
worrisome – Jihadist network. » More
13 December 2013
 Amid street demonstrations and a US-led boycott of last week's OSCE foreign ministers meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine's 2013presidency of the organization is ending with a bang. Today, the CSS' Christian Nünlist looks ahead to Switzerland's
 
imminent turn at the helm. » More
13 December 2013
Why have Mongolia's Khaan Quest exercises grown in significance? J. Berkshire Miller thinks it boils down to three keyissues: 1) they foster mutual respect; 2) they may result in the country becoming a hub for PKO training; and 3) they could
 
provide opportunities for security-centered dialogue among the region's powers. » More

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