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Thrilled to Launch ‘The War is Just A Click Away’

October 20, 2016
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Illustration by Kevin Tong / OpenCanada.org

We launched the OpenCanada.org series The War is Just a Click Away today! It’s one of the fruits of a  SSHRC Connection Grant that Taylor Owen and I received to promote dialogue on issues of global politics.

The series began today with a great longform journalism piece by Toronto Naheed Mustafa. We also worked with CBC’s The Current on a related piece that aired today, and which Naheed produced.

These and other articles will explore the risks and possible responses to these digital connections to war:

People who live far from war may remain connected to it continuously, intimately and sometimes dangerously, through their digital devices. For much of humanity, we can now say that war is just a click away.

These digital connections to conflict are double-edged. Activists can provide assistance and coordinate with people in the midst of conflict, but their communications may be intercepted and their colleagues captured, tortured or killed. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can alert larger publics to human rights violations, but they have also become theatres of war where fighters are recruited, and where violence is stoked through misinformation and ethnic or religious hatred. Digital tools have been developed to help humanitarians identify and assist vulnerable people more quickly than ever before, but can also be used to transfer resources to the groups responsible for violence.

We’ve got more to do on the series, but I’m very appreciative of those who have helped out on the way. In addition to Naheed, I’ve had some great help from research assistants Andrés Delgado, Robert Gorwa and John Woodside. Chloë Ellingson and Kevin Tong contributed some great art. And I’m grateful to Eva and the OpenCanada team. I’m also grateful for support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Centre for International Governance Innovation, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, the Liu Institute for Global Issues, and the Munk School of Global Affairs.

OK, onward with the series!

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