• Gunther Eysenbach has used monitoring of Twitter to show that the attempt to change public discourse from the use of “swine flu” to H1N1 has not really worked.

    tags: microblogging, crowd mining, social media surveillance, science2.0

  • tags: cyberwar

    • U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) is located. One of the command’s jobs is shaping a strategy that prevents such a cyber attack from happening. Parsing conflicts in terms of deterrence – making the price of an attack so believably high to potential attackers that their cost-benefit ratio is negative – comes naturally to STRATCOM. It commanded America’s land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic missile nuclear arsenal for the duration of the Cold War.

      Back then the rules coalesced into fairly clear lines. Now the command is faced with an array of questions for which there are no easy answers

      • The first and most obvious question should be whether constant analogies to nuclear warfare and Cold War-era deterrence are helpful or harmful. – post by TransTracker
    • “Can we determine first of all that we are being attacked?” asked Air Force Brig. Gen Susan Helms, STRATCOM’s director of plans and policy. “How will we differentiate between that, and let’s say, a system failure?”

      Other questions include: How can anyone be sure where the attack is coming from? It’s difficult in the cyber world to attribute where an attack originates from with certainty. Also, might third party countries be stirring up apparent attacks in an effort to channel a U.S. response toward an apparent aggressor?

      • So, basically, we have no idea who is attacking us, but we’re sure as hell going to keep physical force response, including nukes, on the table anyway! – post by TransTracker
    • Then there are questions about the nature of American response – do cyber attacks require a cyber response, or should the president order a live weapon reply? At what point does the threat of a kinetic attack become unbelievable? Might that leave a gap in a potential adversary exploit, frustrating U.S. resolution until there’s nothing left?
      • The answer in the UN Charter as interpreted by most scholars of international law is that the attack must lead to physical world damage, destruction, injury or loss of life before Article 51 could be invoked. From what I can tell, it’s pretty straight forward. Framing all of this as though it is entirely new, posing questions to which we have no ideas about the answers, seems part of a strategy to purposefully create a new “domain of warfare.” And on the issue of levels of force…the threat of kinetic attack loses credibility when it is a threat of nuclear reply, a threat that the U.S. has not taken off the table. It’s both in-credible and immoral. – post by TransTracker
    • “Does it matter if it’s an attack on the economy, where there’s little physical damage, there’s just disruption?” asked a STRATCOM official who requested to remain anonymous.
      • The answer is absolutely yes. And anyone schooled in the Laws of Armed Conflict should know that. The fact that this is even being raised as a question is a sign that something fishy is going on. – post by TransTracker
    • Not every intrusion into U.S. military networks is necessarily an act of war, cautioned the STRATCOM official. “You will hear people new to this discussion a lot using the word ‘attack’ interchangeable with ‘espionage,’” he said.

      Espionage generally is a crime punishable by jail – but in the cyber world couldn’t intensive spying be an enabler of physical combat? When do “normal” cyber operations conducted in peace-time cross the line – and where is the line?

      • Right attack and espionage are different. And they are still different in the “cyber world.” Intensive spying in the “real world” and by other means could also be an indicator of an impending attack…but it might not be either. More evidence would be needed to be able to invoke the Article 51 right of self defense, in this case “anticipatory self defense.” Again, “where is the line?” The line is where it has always been–i.e. physical damage or destruction of property, injury or loss of life is required before an act is/should be considered an “armed attack” that warrants a physical force reply in self defense. In the case of “anticipatory self defense,” something more than spying, intensive or not, would be required. This constant trope of a “brave new world” where we don’t know where the lines are is both disingenuous and dangerous. – post by TransTracker
  • There’s clearly lots of money to be made by those capable of convincing us that cyberwar is a big enough threat to national security.

    tags: cyber command, cyberwar

    • EADS North America Defense Security and Systems Solutions Inc. will be looking to fill between 50 and 75 positions over the next year as the company gears up to provide support services for the new cyber command, according to the company’s chairman and CEO Johnnie Hernandez.
    • Hernandez says the cyber command will be focused on defending the nation’s networks from threats, while the NSA facility will focus on launching attacks.

      “We have the full package in San Antonio,” Hernandez says.

      The 24th Air Force command is slated to have up to a $1 billion budget and create up to 400 military and civilian jobs. It will have an annual payroll of $40 million to $45 million.

      Hernandez says the importance of cyber defense is growing as the country becomes increasingly dependent on technology.

      “The United States is the most technologically advanced country in the world,” he says. “But we still have adversaries who try to break into our networks everyday.” Hernandez says there are an estimated 20,000 cyber attacks against government networks every week.

      “We don’t have enough trained people to mitigate all of these attacks,” Hernandez says. “We need to keep moving forward and this is a step in the right direction.”

  • tags: microblogging, social media surveillance, crowd mining, science2.0

  • tags: microblogging, social media surveillance, crowd mining, science2.0

  • tags: microblogging, social media surveillance, crowd mining, science2.0

  • tags: microblogging, social media surveillance, crowd mining, science2.0

  • tags: microblogging, social media surveillance, crowd mining, science2.0

  • A well thought-out summary of the the general ways that social media has been used to track, display, and disseminate information related to swine flu and what that could/should mean for crisis communication in the future.

    tags: microblogging, social media surveillance, crowd mining, science2.0

  • The short answer: Spend less time trying to track disease outbreak online and instead spend more time “in the jungle.”

    tags: microblogging, social media surveillance, crowd mining, science2.0

    • But it has also begun to use sophisticated new software to trawl the internet for reports of unusual disease outbreaks.

      This approach to spotting pandemics early has powerful backers. Last November, Google became the latest organisation to throw its weight behind the war on emerging infections diseases (EIDs) when it launched Google Flu Trends, a site which aims to predict annual winter flu outbreaks simply by tracking around 40 common terms people search for when suffering flu-like symptoms. (Google launched the site after its engineers found the results accurately tracked flu reports from doctors’ surgeries and clinics, but without the normal one to two week reporting lag.)

      • Google is not the only “backer” of the approach; nor was it Google engineers who discovered that search trend data can be used to predict disease outbreak. Rather, there is support from scientists who have published articles in peer-reviewed journals indicating that these techniques hold great promise. Framing it as Google being the big backer and the research being an inside job is meant to diminish the idea. But this framing is patently false. – post by TransTracker
    • But for all their ingenuity, the worry is that these amount to little more than technological tricks.
    • What is needed is a fundamentally different approach, in which rather than waiting for the viruses to come to us, we go and find them first. This is the theory behind “deep viral mining”—essentially traveling to the jungles of Africa and Asia and gathering data on animal viruses before they leap the species barrier to humans.
      • False dichotomy. There is no reason why we need to choose one or the other. We can and should do both. Additionally, both techniques would provide coverage along a greater stretch of the disease outbreak timeline, all while serving slightly different purposes as well (i.e. prevention vs. early-stage detection and ongoing monitoring). – post by TransTracker
    • Viral mining will do nothing to stop an outbreak like swine flu once it is spreading in the west. But it could stop the next threat. One obvious place to start would be the live animal markets where Asians shop for chickens, ducks and more exotic fare.
      • And what is proposed here would haven’t have prevented swine flu either. 1) It didn’t start in Aisia. 2) It didn’t start in a jungle or with wild animals, but in domesticated animals in a non-jungle area of Mexico, which is not in Asia. Next, “viral mining” will do nothing to provide indications of when preventive efforts fail–i.e. when the disease makes the transition from the jungle animals, through Asian markets, to people. What’s more, it would do nothing to help public health officials track the spread of the disease once we have identified that it has passed to people. Again, the two techniques/approachs and associated tools, server slightly different purposes and are in no way mutually exclusive. – post by TransTracker
  • Evgeny Morozov’s latest, totally uninformed ramblings about the lack of usefulness of social media in general, and Twitter in particular, as tools for public health surveillance.

    tags: microblogging, social media surveillance, crowd mining, science2.0

    • Twitter-disinformation aside, there still remains an important question of whether we could actually use the Internet to spot new epidemics. I haven’t yet formed a firm opinion; perhaps, once data from mobiles is well-integrated into our tools this would be possible — but for now, we are, probably, still are quite far fromfiguring out how to predict epidemics with the Web tools alone (the point being that epidemics usually break out in places with limited internet access).
      • Haven’t made up your mind, huh? Actually, it sounds like you have made up your mind…you think it doesn’t work. Luckily, people who actually know something about public health and “infodemiology” (a term and area of research you don’t even know exists) have made up their minds. And they think, and have in some cases demonstrated in published, peer reviewed scientific articles, that these techniques hold great promise. – post by TransTracker
  • Gunther Eysenbach, “medicine 2.0” guru and author of the first published, scientific study using Google search trends to predict and track flu outbreaks, responds to the claim that Twitter is spreading panic and misinformation about the swine flu. Survey says? Nope. Twitter is not primarily serving to spread misinformation.

    tags: microblogging, social media surveillance, crowd mining, science2.0

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