Over the years the mass media has been seen to influence popular opinions, and possibly even affect political and military decision making; this puts it place as an instrument of power. The rise of Web 2.0 has changed the way in which the masses communicate, and is rapidly establishing itself as a new instrument of power; which has implications for both governments and the military.[Click]The presentation will provide some background theory; discuss the roles of Web 2.0 in advocacy; and then look at the possible implications for the military.
Traditional communications methods, such as telephones, faxes and postal services are on a one-to-one basis i.e. There is only one sender and receiver.The evolution of the media created a one-to-many communication basis, where the radio, newspaper and television broadcasts could reach the masses. Traditional internet ‘web 1.0’ falls into this category, however it differs from the other broadcast media in that it is on demand i.e. The user views the information when suitable, and is not restricted by broadcasting times.Web 2.0 is a many-to-many communications; it focuses on user-generated and user-managed content. Examples of this technology include social networks, wikis, and blogs.
The mass media has been established as an instrument of power, and can influence political and military decisions and behaviour – this is known as the CNN Effect.An example is the withdrawal of US forces from Somalia after images were broadcast showing the bodies of US servicemen being dragged through the streets.Basically, the sender will provide a message through an instrument of power – in this case the media – which creates a phenomenon that is observed and internalised by the target audience, who then takes action.Web 2.0 is similar, but the model may need adjusting to cater for the many-to-many communications.
The networked structure of Civil Society Organisations makes technology attractive to them; especially as it gives them the ability to communicate with global movements and broadcast their message on a large scale in an effective manner.The first major use of technology in this role was the Zapatista campaign against the Mexican government, where the internet played a role in their struggle.The pervasiveness of Web 2.0 has now changed the power dynamics between the government and citizens. CSO’s are using online social networks to recruit members, promote issues and also to raise funds.
In 2007 Humane Society of America advocated against the Canadian seal hunt; it made use of embedded media and had attracted 14,000 visitors.The Student Global Aids Campaign created a wiki to pressure Abbott Labs to provide its HIV drugs to Thailand.Amnesty International commissioned a blog to create a dialogue between the organisation and its 2.2 million members.tcktcktck mobilised just under 5000 bloggers to raise awareness of climate change prior to the 2009 UN summit on Greenhouse gasses in Copenhagen.Governments and embassies are also embracing social media.It is estimated that there 200million bloggers and 635 million readers, and there is an estimated 3,6 billion mobile devices; and text messaging and mobile social networks play a role in demonstrations and CSOs.
Mobile phones were used to mobilise thousands of people against the government of Joseph Estrada in the Philippines. There were on average 700,000 people protesting his leadership at a time; and he eventually resigned – calling it a coup de text.Other examples include Urumqi in China, Iran where Twitter, Facebook and mobile devices were used in the demonstration and to ‘smuggle’ information out of Iran after the media clampdown. Molodova also had a ‘Twitter’ revolution.
The general population and governments are recognising Web 2.0 as an important tool; and the military should too.Advocacy itself is a form of information warfare – they attempt to apply pressure on governments to achieve various goals; which is effectively influence operations.Many service personnel may want access to the social networks; it may prove to be a cheap method of providing contact with home when troops are on deployment. However there are potential security threats regarding this technology. These tools may also be useful for PSYOPs and public affairs, and are also used in disaster management operations, which the military may become involved in.
Web 2.0 technologies aid in the gathering, monitoring and sharing of information; and therefore may be useful for co-ordination amongst the various relief organisations and military providing aid and services.Mobiles were used as a fund raising tool after the Indian Ocean Tsunami – raising over 1million pounds in the UK.After the tsunami, the Sri Lankan Government established a disaster management centre which will send alerts via SMS tot he relevant authorities and media, who can in turn alert the population.The UN’s Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System uses the new media and digital technology for information collection and crisis alerts.The World Food Programme’s Emergency Preparedness Integration Center is aiming to create a platform to integrate information from a variety of sources for aid workers.The US monitored the Iran protests via the social media activity.Disaster management tools, such as Ushahidi and OpSimX make use of Web 2.0 technologies.In Haiti an aid aircraft couldnt land and posted the status on twitter – as a result the USAF account was bombarded with requests to let it land – the plane was on the ground in less than an hour.Due to the prevalence of Web 2.0 technologies in disaster management, it may be beneficial to integrate some compatibility into military systems when on disaster relief operations.
Web 2.0 technologies provide an opportunity to gather open source information.The monitoring of the Iran demonstrations was already mentioned.The USAF monitored the public reaction to unannounced flight by air force one.The wife of MI6 chief posted holiday photos of them; it is thought that this could be used by adversary.There is a concern that little bits of information could be pieced together to create a larger picture of activities.
In the US there is indecision over security – social media has been banned by some of the services, and then the ban was lifted.There is a concern that the use of social networks on defense computers could make them susceptible to viruses and malware.Sensitive information could also be released (accidentally or otherwise) on the social networks, which could jeopardise operations, such as in Israel when a soldier posted the time of a raid.Photos posted by former military with prisoners – banning would not help as the photos were released after conscription.As mentioned previously, an adversary may be able to piece together information from posts on social networks – such as the MI6 example.Dissidents may use these tools for command and control – such as in Iran & Moldova - something that the military and security services would need to accommodate when dealing with these situations.Web 2.0 could also signify the end of a land-based surprise attack – one civilian with a mobile phone could take a photo of deploying vehicles, and have it on the internet in a matter of minutes, and the photo could be of sufficient quality to register unit insignia.
Influence operations basically use information to affect the cognitive processes of a target audience.Web 2.0 could be a useful tool for PSYOPs and public affairs as it can reach a large audience.Israeli Defense Force is actively using social media for influence operations.After the flotilla raid was published on the social media websites, Israel also resorting to countering with videos and images. They have also been known to release videos of precision strikes, and tweets from embassies.The initial wikileaks incident of the gunship incident has been overshadowed by the more recent release of documents. This illustrates both the security threat, and the use of the social media to influence audiences around the world.
Web 2.0 provides a forum which enables people to air their views on a global scale; and it has enabled organisations to effectively harness public opinion.This becomes relevant to the military; their adversaries may be using it to great effect, which needs to be countered. It provides a cheap and convenient communications tool, but it also presents the risk of leaks and some other concerns. It also provides a strong platform for influence operations.An optimal solution has not been found – there have been attempts to ban social media, which was then reversed. There needs to be some mid-point where there is access, yet it is monitored to prevent leaks and misuse.
Mobile Security from an Information Warfare Perspective
Web 2.0 and its Implications for the Military<br />K Pillay<br />B van Niekerk<br />MS Maharaj<br />
Introduction<br />Mass media has been seen to influence popular opinion and political will.<br />With the evolution of Web 2.0, this has become the new ‘instrument of power’.<br />Presentation outline:<br /><ul><li> Background theory