Digital War: Rhetoric, Risks & Realities
School of Media Studies
The New School
Fall 2016

Instructor: Peter Asaro asarop AT
Time: Tuesday, 6:00 - 7:50 pm
Location: 16th Street, Room 1003

Course webpage is here:

Course blog is here:

Course Description

This course focuses on exploring how digital technologies and media are transforming warfare, international conflicts, and popular uprisings and their suppression. We will explore how these technologies are changing the nature of warfare, and the rhetoric that is used to justify the development and use of these new technologies and strategies. The course critically examines the claims that technologies can produce increasingly risk-free, or even bloodless, wars, and considers how the risks of engaging in armed conflict are being redistributed. It also examines how new forms of digital and social media are being enlisted in the service of international conflicts. Topics discussed include the military's use of video games for recruitment and training; the role of digital media in war journalism, state propaganda and information warfare, and hackivist sites such as Wikileaks; the use of social media in both organizing and suppressing popular uprisings such as the Arab Spring; mass surveillance in the name of state security; developments in cyberwarfare; and the increasing use of military robotics, including armed Predator and Reaper drones, as well as the development of fully autonomous weapons.


Class Attendance & Participation 25%
Blog Entries & Comments: 20%
Research Project Idea: 5%
Research Project Full Proposal: 15%
Final Project Presentation 10%
Final Research Project: 25%

Class Attendance and Participation: 25%

You are expected to have thoroughly and thoughtfully read the assigned texts, viewed the assigned videos, and to have prepared yourself to contribute meaningfully to the class discussions. For some people, that preparation requires taking copious notes on the assigned readings; for others, it entails supplementing the assigned readings with explanatory texts found in survey textbooks or in online sources; and for others still, it involves reading the texts, ruminating on them afterwards, then discussing those readings with classmates before the class meeting. Whatever method best suits you, I hope you will arrive at class with copies of the assigned reading, ready and willing to make yourself a valued contributor to the discussion, and eager to share your own relevant media experiences and interests. Your participation will be evaluated in terms of both quantity and quality.

As this is a seminar, regular attendance is essential. You will be permitted two excused absences (you must notify me of your inability to attend before class, via email). Any subsequent absences and any un-excused absences will adversely affect your grade.

Blog Entries & Comments: 20% (+ up to 10% extra credit)

You will be required to make weekly blog entries commenting on the readings for the week. You will be required to create an account on WordPress (if you do not already have one), and send me an email with your LoginID and the EMAIL ADDRESS used to create the account,so that you can be added as an author for the collective course blog. Everyone will be posting to a common blog page, and this will be readable by your classmates. When writing and making comments, you are expected to treat other students with the same respect and courtesy as you should in the classroom.

Discussion questions will be posted each week to help stimulate the writing process. You are also expected to read the posts of your classmates, and encouraged to comment on other people's posts each week. Posts will not be graded (they will receive 2, 1 or 0 points based on timely completion), but the TA and I will read them and occasionally comment on them. There will be 10 posts through the semester, thus 20 points, constituting 20% of your grade.

Comments are strongly encouraged, and you can receive up to 10 points (extra credit) for each substantial comment (paragraph or longer) that you make on someone else's post.

Blog posts will be due before the start of each class. They are time stamped when you post them, and late posts will only receive half credit (1 point). Discussion questions for the next week will be posted shortly after each class.

Research Project Idea: 5%
Research Project Full Proposal: 15%
Final Project Presentation 10%
Final Research Project: 25%

Research Project Idea Due: September 27
Length: 300-500 words (approx. 1 page)

Research Project Full Proposal Due: November 1
Length: 500-2000 words (approx. 1-4 pages)

Final Project Presentations: December 13

Final Project Due: December 20
Length (media project description): 500-3000 words (approx. 1-10 pages) + Media Project
Length (research paper option): 3000-5000 words (approx. 10-18 pages)

There will be no final exam. Instead, a final research project will be required. There are 2 options: Research Paper Option, and Media Project Option.

Final Project will be due shortly after the last day of class. If that deadline will not work for you, you need to make other arrangements one week in advance, at the latest. We will try to set aside time in the last day(s) of class for presentations of final projects. These will not be graded but will offer an opportunity for feedback before submitting your final project.

Project topics can address any aspect of the topics and materials discussed in class. Projects should include materials beyond what is directly covered in class, as appropriate for your topic. In other words, they should require research. The blog will provide many ideas for projects, as will class discussion. You will be asked to submit a short description of your Project Idea early in the semester, and will receive feedback on it.

Later in the semester you will have to write a more formal Proposal for your project, based on feedback and further research. Project proposals should state the research question, problem, or phenomenon that will be the focus of your research. It should also state your thesis or position on the issue, as well as outline the argument you will use to support your position. This applies to both papers and media projects. You should also indicate the sources and materials you will consult and utilize in making your argument and producing your final project. For the Media Project Option, you should state as clearly as possible what you intend to deliver for the final draft (i.e., video length, style, format, content; website; set of infographics, etc.).

Final Project Presentations will occur on the last day of class. These should be short 5-10 minutes summary of your research paper or project, allowing 5-10 minutes for discussion. Group projects can be presented collectively.

Research Paper Option
This will take the form of a 3000-5000 word (Times New Roman, 12pt font, double spaced) term paper. You should draw upon sources from the course readings as well as beyond the course readings. You should cite your sources properly.

Media Project Option
Media Projects can take the form of film and video pieces, audio documentaries, websites, interactive media, performance pieces, infographics, a social media campaign strategy, or other ideas. In addition to the actual media product, you will need to submit your Idea, Proposal, and a Final short written piece explaining your project, its motivations, methods and what you did to realize it.

Group Project Option
Those pursuing the Media Project Option have the further option of participating in a group research project. For the students pursuing this option, the process will be much the same, with the Idea being an individual statement of what you plan to contribute to the group project, and the Proposal and Final projects being collective efforts to realize the research project. In addition, each person choosing this option must submit a 1-page self-assessment of their participation in the group, due at the same time as the Final project.

For the Group Project Option, the topic will be to develop social media strategy and/or media content for the International Committee for Robot Arms Control ( As a co-founder of this organization, I will provide guidance to the group. However, it is largely up to the group to conceive and develop the project. The actual project could range from a high-level media strategy, to infographics and clickable content, to a social media campaign, to an audio/video or digital media project, or any combination of these or other ideas.
Last year's group project included a performance piece (with live drone and event poster), a short documentary film, and website:

Autonomous Weapons

Papers and written ideas and proposals should be submitted to me in electronic form by email (Word Perfect, MS Word, PDF, HTML and plain TXT are all fine). All assignments are due at 6pm at the start of class on the day they are due. Late final papers will not be accepted, as I must turn in grades shortly thereafter.


Extra Credit & Make-ups

In addition to the extra points available for commenting on blog posts, there will be several events during the semester which will allow you to get extra credit points, or make-up for missed (excused) classes.


All readings will be available electronically, via the web, in PDF, MS Word, HTML, or similar format. You are welcome and encouraged to buy any of the books used.


Week 1: August 30
Course Introduction

Course Syllabus Overview

Student Introductions

How to create a WordPress Account, and make a Blog Entry

Watch: Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras Interview with Edward Snowden Part I, 12 min., The Guardian, July 9, 2013, and Part II, 7 min., The Guardian, July 8, 2013

Week 2: September 6
Edward Snowden, NSA Surveillance & the Media


Brett Max Kaufman, "A Guide to What We Now Know About the NSA's Dragnet Searches of Your Communications," ACLU Blog, August 9, 2013.

Peter Maass, "How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets," New York Times, August 13, 2013.

Peter Masss, "Q & A: Edward Snowden Talks to Peter Maass," New York Times, August 13, 2013.

Rachel Nolan, "Behind the Cover Story: Peter Maass on How He Got the Very Secret Laura Poitras to Open Up," New York Times, August 19, 2013.

Glenn Greenwald, "'Ongoing NSA Work," The Guardian, August 27, 2013.

Barton Gellman, "NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds," Washington Post, August 15, 2013.

Barton Gellman, "First direct evidence of illegal surveillance found by the FISA court," Washingtron Post, August 15, 2013.

Shane Harris, "The Cowboy of the NSA," Foreign Policy, September 9, 2013.

Watch:Laura Poitras, "The Program," 8 min., New York Times Op-Doc, August 22, 2013.

Watch:Glenn Greenwald & Amy Goodman, "Greenwald: Snowden "Doing Very Well" in Russia After Sparking "Extraordinary Debate" on NSA, Spying," 29 min., Democracy Now!, August 5, 2013.

Watch: Frontline, "The United States of Secrets", May 2014.


Watch:Laura Poitras, "Citizenfour," 114 min., 2014.

Wikipedia, "Edward Snowden"

Wikipedia, "National Security Agency"

Wikipedia, "PRISM (surveillance program)"

Wikipedia, "FISA Court"

James Bamford, "The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)," Wired, March 15, 2012.

Week 3: September 13
Encyrption & State Power


Apple Vs. FBI Timeline, USA Today

Apple's FBI Battle is Complicated: Here's What's Really Going On. Wired

Lev Grossman, Inside Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Fight With the FBI, Time Magazine, March 17, 2016

Center for Internet & Society, Stanford Law School, Amicus Brief (note: brief is in PDF linked at bottom)

Riana Pfefferkorn, Apple vs. the FBI: Where Did It Come From? What Is It? Where Is It Going?

Spencer Ackerman, "Lavabit email service abruptly shut down citing government interference," The Guardian, August 9, 2013.

Dominic Rushe, "Lavabit founder: 'My own tax dollars are being used to spy on me'," The Guardian, August 22, 2013.

Tor Overview,

Yasha Levine, Almost Everyone Involved in Developing Tor was (or is) Funded by the US Government, Pando

Virgil Griffith, Tor's Rebranding is Going to Get Someone Killed, Medium

Watch:Ladar Levinson & Amy Goodman, "Owner of Snowden’s Email Service on Why He Closed Lavabit Rather Than Comply With Gov’t," 48 min., Democracy Now!, August 13, 2013.


Mr. Robot uses ProtonMail, But it Still Isn't Fully Secure, Wired

Onion.City search engine for Deep Web

Wikipedia entry on Apple v. FBI

Wikipedia entry on All Writs Act

Wikipedia Entry on Tor

Part I: Tomorrow's Wars, Today

Week 4: September 20


E. Gabriella Coleman (2011) "Anonymous: From the Lulz to Collective Action," The New Everyday,April 06, 2011

Allison Powell (2011) "The WikiLeaks Phenomenon and New Media Power," The New Everyday,April 08, 2011

Jayson Harsin, "Wikileaks’ Lessons For Media Theory and Politics," Flow, January 15, 2011.

DNC email leak: Russian hackers Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear behind breach, The Guardian

WikiLeaks' unwitting victims are revealed: Rape victims, Saudis who are secretly gay and families embroiled in paternity disputes among hundreds of innocent people outed by whistleblowing website, Dailymail

WikiLeaks release excludes evidence of €2 billion transfer from Syria to Russia, DailyDot

WikiLeaks threatens Daily Dot journalists over report on missing Syria emails, The Verge

What we know about Russia's role in the DNC email leak, Politifact

Yochai Benkler, "A Free Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle Over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate," Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, forthcoming.

The Panama Papers, The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The People Behind the Panama Papers, Mozilla


Guccifer 2.0 Wordpress site

Wikipedia entry on Guccifer 2.0

Wikipedia entry on DNC email leak

Evgeny Morozov, "The age of the WikiLeaks-style vigilante geek is over," The Guardian, February 4, 2011.

Fouad Ajami, "WikiLeaks and the Art of Diplomacy," Hoover Institute blog, Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2010.

Watch: Frontline (2011) WikiSecrets, PBS, 60 min.

Watch: Amy Goodman, "Full Extended Interview With Julian Assange on WikiLeaks Crackdown," Democracy Now!, May 29, 2013, 40 min.

Watch: Alex Gibney, "We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks" (2013), 130 min.

Watch: Democracy Now! (2011) Special: "Conversation w/ Assange & Zizek," 120 min.

Watch: Democracy Now! (2012) "Julian Assange on WikiLeaks," Nov. 29, 2012, 55 min.

Watch: "Collateral Murder," Wikileaks, April 5, 2010.

Wikipedia, "Wikileaks"

Wikipedia, "Anonynous (group)"

Week 5: September 27
Project Ideas Due


Fred Kaplan, Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, Chapters 1-10, pp. 1-190, Simon & Schuster, 2016.

Joel Brenner (2011) "The Calm Before the Storm: Cyberwar is already happening -- and it's about to get much, much worse. A veteran intelligence official explains how America can prepare itself," Foreign Policy, September 6, 2011.

NATO set to ratify Pledge on Joint Defense in case of Major Cyberattack, New York Times, 2014

Watch: Nova (2015) Cyberwar Threat, PBS, 54 min.

Watch: Cyber War, Season 1, Epsiode 8, "America's Elite Hacking Force", Viceland, 23min.


Watch: Fault Lines (2010) Cyberwar, Al Jazeera English, 24 min.

Watch: Frontline (2003) Cyberwar, PBS, 53 min.

Tallinn Manual for Cyberwarfare

Tallinn Manual 2.0

Wikipedia, "Tallinn Manual"

Wikipedia, "Cyberwarfare"

Wikipedia, "U.S. Cyber Command"

United States Army Field Manual on Electronic Warfare (2012)

United States Department of Defense, "Cyber Strategy"

Week 6: October 4
Cybercrime or State-Sponsored Espionage/Attack?


Kim Zetter, Revealed: Yet Another Group Hacking for China's Bottomline, Wired, June 14, 2016.

Adrian Chen, The Agency, New York Times Magazine, June 2, 2015.

Peter Elkind, "Inside the Hack of the Century: Part 1, 2 and 3," Fortune, June 25, 2015

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchieri, FBI Says a Mysterious Hacking Group Has Had Access to US Govt Files for Years, Motherboard, April 4, 2016

Matthew M. Aid, Inside the NSA’s Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group, Foreign Policy, June 10, 2013

Andrew E. Kramer, A Voice Cuts Through, and Adds to, the Intrigue of Russia’s Cyberattacks, New York Times, Sept 27, 2016.

Russian Hackers Targeted Nearly Half of States' Voter Registration Systems, Sucessfully Infiltrated 4, ABC News, Sept. 29, 2016.

U.S. Believes Hackers Are Shielded by Russia to Hide Its Role in Cyberintrusions, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 28, 2016.

APT28: A Window into Russia's Cyber Espionage Operations?, FireEye

Security Firm Redefines APT: African Phishing Threat, Krebs on Security

APT28: Cybercrime or state-sponsored hacking?, InfoSec Institute

Cyber-espionage Group caught hacking defense, industrial base, CNN, August 15, 2015

Operation Pawn Storm, Operation Pawn Storm Report

Watch: Cyber War, Season 1, Epsiode 2, "The Sony Hack", Viceland, 23min.


APT28 Under the Scope: A Journey into Exfiltrating Intelligence and Government Information, InfoSecurity Europe

Wikipedia entry on Sony Pictures Hack

Week of October 11

Week 7: October 18
Arms Control, Disarmament and Emerging Techologies
Guest Lecturer: Prof. Matt Bolton, Pace University


Matthew Bolton (2015) "From minefields to minespace: An archeology of the changing architecture of autonomous killing in US Army field manuals on landmines, booby traps and IEDs," Political Geography, 46 (2015), pp. 41-53.

Matthew Bolton and Elizabeth Minor (2016) "The Discursive Turn Arrives in Turtle Bay: The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’ Operationalization of Critical IR Theories," Global Policy, Volume 7, Issue 3, September 2016, pp. 385–395.

Richard Price (1995) "Geneology of the Chemical Weapons Taboo," International Organization, Volume 49, Number 1 (Winter, 1995) pp. 73-103.


Week 8: October 25
Media War


Peter Pomerantsevsep (2014) "Russia and the Menace of Unreality: How Vladimir Putin is revolutionizing information warfare," The Atlantic, September 9, 2014.

Huw Lemmey (2012) "Devastation in Meatspace," The New Inquiry, November 28, 2012.

Chaim Levinson (2013) "To tweet or not to tweet? The IDF answers the question," Haaretz, Sep. 16, 2013.

Rebeccas L. Stein (2014) "How Israel militarized social media," Mondoweiss, July 24, 2014.

Max Schindler (2014) "In social media battle, IDF uploads while Hamas accounts are deleted," Christian Science Monitor, July 17, 2014.

Faisal Irshaid (2014) "How Isis is spreading its message online," BBC News, June 19, 2014.

Patrick Kingsley (2014) "Who is behind Isis's terrifying online propaganda operation?" The Guardian, June 23, 2014.

Mustapha Ajbaili (2014) "How ISIS conquered social media," Al Arabiya News, Tuesday, 24 June 2014.

David Carr (2014) "With Videos of Killings, ISIS Sends Medieval Message by Modern Method," New York Times, September 7, 2014.

Jay Caspian Kang (2014) "ISIS's Call of Duty," The New Yorker, September 18, 2014.

Glenn Greenwald (2014) "Americans now Fear ISIS sleeper cells are living in the US, Overwhelmingly Support Military Action," The Intercept, September 8, 2014.

Emerson T. Brooking, and P. W. Singer, War Goes Viral: How Social Media is being Weaponized Across the World, The Atlantic, October, 2016.

Kurt Eichenwald, "Dear Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, I Am Not Sidney Blumenthal," Newsweek, October 10, 2016.

Watch: Frontline (2014) The Rise of ISIS, October, 28, 2014,53 min.

Watch: Viceland (2016) Cyber War Episode 5, Syria's Cyber Battlefields,23 min.


Israeli Defense Forces_Spokesperson's_Unit

U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Media Activity

Wikipedia entry on DoD Defense Media Activity


Week 9: November 1
Digital War Journalism & The Targeting of Journalists


Ciar Byrne, (2003) "War reporting 'changed forever' says BBC," The Gaurdian, March 31, 2003

Donald Matheson and Stuart Allan (2009) Digital War Reporting, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Micah Lee (2014) "Ed Snowden taught me to smuggle secrets past incredible danger, now I teach you," The Intercept, October 28, 2014.

Allison Shelley (2014) "The dangerous world of freelance journalism," Los Angeles Times, September 6, 2014.

U.S. Filmmaker Repeatedly Detained at Border, Salon, 2012.

Jim Boumelha (2010) "US must deliver justice on friendly fire," The Gaurdian, April 10, 2010.

"The Iraq War: The Heaviest Death Toll for the Media since World War II, March 2003 – August 2010," Reporters Without Borders, September 7, 2010.

"Journalist deaths spike in 2012 due to Syria, Somalia," Committee to Protect Journalists, December 18, 2012.

Frank Smyth (2013) "Iraq war and news media: A look inside the death toll," Committee to Protect Journalists, March 18, 2013.

Morgan Weiland, "Protecting Journalism in the Digital Era," Stanford Lawyer, Nov. 8, 2013.

Watch: Excerpt on U.S. Strike on Al Jazeera Office, Control Room, 2004. IMBD

Watch: "Israel: Unlawful Attacks on Palestinian Media," Human Rights Watch, 2012.


Explore: website

Watch: Errol Morris (2008) Standard Operating Procedure, Sony Classics,116 min.

Watch: John Pilger (2010) The War You Don't See, BBC, 120 min., YouTube link

Week 10: November 8
Project Proposals/Drafts Due
Military Robotics I: Introduction & Overview


Watch: DocZone, (2011) Remote Control War, CBC, 45 min. Watch AVI here (540MB).

Watch: Frontline (2009) Taking out the Taliban: Home for Dinner, PBS, 15 min.

Watch: Nova (2013) Rise of the Drones, January 23, 2013, PBS, 53 min. YouTube

Watch: Omer Fast (2011) 5,000 Feet is the Best, 30 min. [select from "Online Preview" menu]

Peter W. Singer, "Coming Soon to a Battlefield Near You: The Next Wave of Warbots," in Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century, New York: Penguin Press, 2009, pp. 109-134.

William Wan and Peter Finn (2011) "Global race on to match U.S. drone capabilities," Washington Post, July 4, 2011.

Edward Wong, "Hacking U.S. Secrets, China Pushes for Drones," New York Times, September 20, 2013.

Matthew Rosenberg and John Markoff, "The Pentagon’s ‘Terminator Conundrum’: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own," New York Times, October 25, 2016.


Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2011-2036, US Department of Defense, Reference Number: 11-S-3613.

Watch: Alex Rivera (2008) Sleep Dealer, Likely Story, 90 min.

Watch: Neill Blomkamp (2007) Tetra Vaal, Spy Films, 2 min.

Week 11: November 15
Military Robotics II: Targeted Killings


"U.N. warns against extrajudicial killings," UPI, Oct. 21, 2011.

Jo Becker and Scott Shane (2012) "Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will," New York Times, May 26, 2012.

Greg Miller (2012) "CIA seeks to expand drone fleet, officials say," Washington Post, October 18, 2012.

James Cavallaro, Sarah Knuckey, et al. (2012) "Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan," September 2012.

Naureen Shah, et al. (2012) "The Civilian Impact of Drones: Unexamined Costs, Unanswered Questions," September, 2012.

Grégoire Chamayou (2011) "The Manhunt Doctrine," Radical Philosophy, Volume 169, Sep/Oct 2011.

Jenna Jordan, (2009) "When Heads Roll: Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Decapitation," Security Studies, 18, pp. 719-755.

Philip Alston (2011) "The CIA and Targeted Killings Beyond Borders,". New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 303.

Mark Isikoff, "Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans," NBC News, February 4, 2013. Also: Full Memo

Gregory D. Johnsen, "Did an 8-Year-Old Spy for America?" The Atlantic Monthly, August 14, 2013.

Wajahat Ali, "Drone victim: U.S. strikes boost al-Qaida recruitment," Salon, May 2, 2013.

Watch: Frontline (2011) Kill/Capture, PBS, 60 min.

Watch: Democracy Now! (2012) "Study Finds U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan Miss Militant Targets and "Terrorize" Civilians", September, 26, 2012, 51 min.

Explore: website

Explore: Bureau of Investigative Journalism "Covert Drone War" website

Explore: Pitch Interactive Visualization of BIJ Drone Strike Data


Explore: New America Foundation (2012) "The Year of the Drone: Analysis of US Drone Strikes in Pakistan"

Philip Alston (2010) "Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Study on targeted killings,"United Nations, May 28, 2010.

Christina Bonnington and Spencer Ackerman (2012) "Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes," Wired DangerRoom Blog, August 30, 2012.

Seth G. Jones and Martin C. Libicki, "How Terrorist Groups End: Implications for Countering al Qa'ida", RAND Corporation, MG-741-RC, 2008, 252 pp.

International Committee of the Red Cross (2009) "Interpretive guidance on the notion of direct participation in hostilities under international humanitarian law," ICRC publication, 2009.

Karen DeYoung (2012) "A CIA veteran transforms U.S. counterterrorism policy," Washington Post, October 24, 2012.

Craig Whitlock (2012) "Remote U.S. base at core of secret operations," Washington Post, October 25, 2012.

Greg Miller and Julie Tate (2011) "CIA shifts focus to killing targets," Washington Post, September 1, 2011.

Dana Priest and William M. Arkin (2011) "Top Secret America: A look at the military's Joint Special Operations Command," Washington Post, September 2, 2011.\

Week of Tuesday, November 22
NO CLASS DUE TO THANKSGIVING (Classes follow Wednesday Schedule)

Week 12: November 29
Military Robotics III: Legal, Ethical & Political Issues


Peter Asaro (2008) "How Just Could a Robot War Be?" in Philip Brey, Adam Briggle and Katinka Waelbers (eds.), Current Issues in Computing And Philosophy, Amsterdam, Netherlands: IOS Publishers.

Bradley Jay Strawser (2010) "Moral Predators: The Duty to Employ Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles," Journal of Military Ethics, 9 (4), pp. 342-368.

Mary Ellen O'Connell, "Lawful Use of Combat Drones," United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Hearing: Rise of the Drones II: Examining the Legality of Unmanned Targeting, April 28, 2010.

Mark Isikoff, "Justice Department Memo Reveals Legal Case for Drone Strikes on Americans," NBC News, February 4, 2013. Also: Full Memo

Jameel Jaffer, "The Justice Department’s White Paper on Targeted Killing," ACLU Blog, February 4, 2013.g

Gregory D. Johnsen, "Did an 8-Year-Old Spy for America?" The Atlantic Monthly, August 14, 2013.

Wajahat Ali, "Drone Victim: U.S. Strikes Boost al-Qaida Recruitment," Salon, May 2, 2013.

Peter Asaro (2013) "The Labor of Surveillance and Bureaucratized Killing: New Subjectivities of Military Drone Operators," Special Issue on Charting, Tracking, Mapping: Technology, Labor, and Surveillance, Gretchen Soderlund (ed.), Social Semiotics, 23 (2), pp. 196-224.

Wendell Wallach and Colin Allen, "Does Humanity Want Computers Making Moral Decisions" and "Can (Ro)bots Really be Moral?" in Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 57-71.

Ronald C. Arkin (2007) "Governing Lethal Behavior: Embedding Ethics in a Hybrid Deliberative/Reactive Robot Architecture, Part I. Motivation & Philosophy," Georgia Tech Technical Report GIT-GVU-07-11, pp.1-8.

Robert Sparrow (2007) "Killer Robots," Journal of Applied Philosophy, 24 (1), pp. 62-77.

Malise Ruthven, "Terror: The Hidden Source," New York Review of Books, October 24, 2013.


Peter Asaro (2006). "What Should We Want from a Robot Ethic?" Special Issue on Ethics in Robotics, Karsten Weber, Daniela Cerquie and Jutta Weber (eds.), International Review of Information Ethics, 6 (12), pp. 9-16.

Peter Asaro (2009). "Modeling the Moral User: Designing Ethical Interfaces for Tele-Operation," IEEE Technology & Society, 28 (1), 20-24.

Peter Asaro, and Gerhard Dabringer (2010). "Military Robotics and Just War Theory," in Gerhard Dabringer (ed.) Ethica Themen: Ethical and Legal Aspects of Unmanned Systems, Interviews, Vienna, Austria: Austrian Ministry of Defence and Sports, pp. 103-119.

Borenstein, J. (2008) "Ethics of Autonomous Military Robots," Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology, 2 (1), pp. 1-17.

Week 13: December 6
Military Robotics IV: Autonomous Lethal Robots, a.k.a. Killer Robots


Armin Krishnan,"Dangerous Futures and Arms Control," in Killer Robots: Legality and Ethicality of Autonomous Weapons, London: Ashgate, 2009, pp. 145-167.

Human Rights Watch (2012) "Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots," HRW Report, November 19, 2012.

HRW Press release with Video.

U.S. Department of Defense, "Directive on Autonomy in Weapons Systems," NUMBER 3000.09, November 21, 2012.

Mark Gubrud, "US Killer Robot Policy: Full-Speed Ahead," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 20, 2013.

Christof Heyns, "Lethal Autonomous Robots: Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions," United Nations Human Rights Council, A/HRC/23/47, April 9, 2013.

Kenneth Anderson, "Law and Ethics for Autonomous Weapons Systems (Introduction)," Opinio Juris, April 13, 2013.

Kenneth Anderson and Mathew Waxman, "Law and Ethics for Autonomous Weapons Systems: Why a Ban Won't work and How the Laws of War Can," Hoover Insitute Policy Paper, April 9, 2013, pp. 1-32.

Michael N. Schmitt, and Jeffrey S. Thurnher, "'Out of the Loop': Autonomous Weapon Systems and the Law of Armed Conflict," February 5, 2013, Harvard National Security Journal. 231 (2013), pp. .

Peter Asaro. "On Banning Autonomous Lethal Systems: Human Rights, Automation and the Dehumanizing of Lethal Decision-making," Special Issue on New Technologies and Warfare, International Review of the Red Cross, 94 (886), Summer 2012, pp. 687-709.


Watch: Daniel Suarez (2013) The Kill Decision Shouldn't Belong to a Robot, TED Talks, 14 min.

Watch: Noel Sharkey (2013) Toy Soldiers to Killer Robots, TEDxSheffield 2013, 18 min.

Watch: J.J. Palomo (2013) Keloid Trailer, 3 min.

"The Killer Robot Debate," Global Defence Technology, Issue 31, September 2013.

Reaching Critical Will, "Fully Autonomous Weapons Fact Sheet," 2013.

Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, and George Bekey (2008) "Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design," Office of Naval Research Report, December, 2008, pp. 1-112.

Noel Sharkey, "Grounds for Discrimination: Autonomous Robot Weapons," RUSI Defence Systems, 11 (2), 2008, pp. 86-89.

Week 14: December 13
Final Project Presentations

Social Media & Popular Demonstrations


Hannah Arendt, (1968) On Violence, New York: Harvest Books.

Joshua Holland (2011) "How Video of Police Behaving Badly Made Occupy Wall Street a Global Phenomenon," AlterNet, October 24, 2011

Philip N. Howard, "The Lasting Impact of Digital Media on Civil Society." U.S. State Department Global E-Journal, January 25, 2010.

Charles Hirschkind (2011) "The Role of Social Media in the Egypt Uprising," Jadaliyya, February 9, 2011.

Charles Levinson and Margaret Coker (2011) "The Secret Rally That Sparked an Uprising," Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2011.

Jack Z. Bratich (2011) "Kyber-Revolts: Egypt, State-friended Media, and Secret Sovereign Networks," The New Everyday,April 25, 2011.

"Partnership between Facebook and police could make planning protests impossible," RT, October 25, 2013.

Andy Cush (2014) "NYPD is Sick of 'Techie Brat' Protestors Using Dang Titter to Organize," Gawker, Dec. 1, 2014.


Watch: Frontline (2011) Revolution in Cairo, PBS, 60 min.

Philip N. Howard (2011) "Digital media and the Arab spring," Reuters, February 16, 2011.

Philip N. Howard (2010) "#IranElection: Inside the cyberwar for Iran's future." Miller-McCune Magazine. January-February 2010. pp. 28-33.

Jennifer Preston and Brian Stelter (2011) "Cellphones Become the World's Eyes and Ears on Protests," New York Times, February 18, 2011.

December 20
Final Projects Due