“Technology is like a bomb”: Social media weaponized in Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis (CBS News)

CBS News: “Technology is like a bomb”: Social media weaponized in Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis. “The utopian dream of internet and social media pioneers — the idea that connecting millions of people in cyberspace would make the world a better place — has run into a darker reality as invisible armies of trolls, bots and propagandists use the technology to sway public opinion and poison debate. Perhaps nowhere has that impact been more malign than in Myanmar, where social media has been weaponized against the vulnerable Rohingya minority as the regime carries out what one U.N. official calls ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.'”

Emirates News Agency: Haya bint Al Hussein launches Humanitarian Logistics Databank

Emirates News Agency: Haya bint Al Hussein launches Humanitarian Logistics Databank. “The long-awaited solution is an information sharing platform dedicated to emergency preparedness and response. It facilitates the collection and sharing of data in real-time on prepositioned aid and humanitarian assets, helping to make emergency responses more timely and cost-efficient…. The Databank will employ automated tracking of aid movements based on customs data from ports, airports, and other entry points. It will provide the global humanitarian community with information on the exact positioning of critical relief items such as food, medicine and shelter, making them accessible to all cooperating parties. This platform will improve collaboration and will help avoid bottlenecks in ports and airports.” It appears to be very early days for this initiative, the announcement also notes: “In its first phase, the Humanitarian Logistics Databank, will begin gathering data on aid shipments from Dubai in 2018. It will then be replicated in other humanitarian hubs across the world by January 2019.”

France24: Language of persecuted Rohingya poised to go digital

France24: Language of persecuted Rohingya poised to go digital. “For decades the Rohingya have been denied recognition in Myanmar but the persecuted minority is close to securing a crucial symbol of their identity — their own unique digital alphabet. The language of the stateless Muslim people has been included in the planned upgrade to the Unicode Standard, the global coding system that turns written script into digital characters and numbers.”

Washington Post: Fake news on Facebook fans the flames of hate against the Rohingya in Burma

Washington Post: Fake news on Facebook fans the flames of hate against the Rohingya in Burma. “Burma was long closed off by a military regime, with centuries-old tensions between its Budd­hist and Muslim communities leashed by strict control over traditional media.As the country transitions into democracy, those constraints have loosened and access to the Internet has expanded rapidly, most notably through a Facebook program called Free Basics that has catapulted the platform into prominence as a major source of news in Burma. But the sudden proliferation of recently available technologies has accelerated the spread of ethnic hatred in Burma, stoking tensions amid a violent military crackdown that has sent more than 600,000 Rohingya fleeing across the border into Bangladesh.”

Phys.org: Bringing social media to unconnected areas

Phys.org: Bringing social media to unconnected areas . “The number of connected devices may be on the rise, but large swaths of the global population still live in areas without telecom infrastructure or a reliable internet connection. A group of EPFL researchers, working with the Pennsylvania State University and Médecins Sans Frontières, have developed a number of solutions to connect these areas.”

Northeastern University: Professors Uncover Lost Stories Of WWII Refugee-Scholars

Northeastern University: Professors Uncover Lost Stories Of WWII Refugee-Scholars. “Some of the greatest scientists of our time came to the U.S. as migrants or refugees during World War II—Albert Einstein, Hans Bethe, and Rita Levi-Montalcini all fled the growing influence of the Nazi party and wound up making groundbreaking contributions to their fields while in the U.S. But what about the scholars whose work we might never know because they didn’t reach U.S. shores? Those are the stories an interdisciplinary group of Northeastern faculty members—Laurel Leff, Michelle Borkin, and John Wihbey—sought to tell when they started digging through migration records at the New York Public Library….The result is the Refugee Scholars project, a digital database and data storytelling platform that follows the lives of dozens of these scholars.”

Global Voices: Violence in Northwest Myanmar Sparks an Information War Online with Anti-Rohingya Hate Speech and Fake Photos

Global Voices: Violence in Northwest Myanmar Sparks an Information War Online with Anti-Rohingya Hate Speech and Fake Photos. “Myanmar’s internet exploded with hate speech, fake news photos, and racist narratives after the Myanmar military clashed with Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25, 2017, near the Bangladesh border in the northwestern part of the country. The violence lasted for days with the Myanmar government immediately declaring ARSA a terrorist group while launching aggressive ‘clearance operations’ in the villages of Rakhine state. The government and ARSA blamed each other for civilian casualties caused by the conflict.”