Uses of Digital Technologies in Managing and Preventing Conflict
This query looks at the role of ICTs in preventing, managing and promoting peacebuilding and stabilisation. It also considers the threats to humanitarian programmes brought by ICTs. Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are increasingly prevalent across the developing world and as such are being used in a variety of ways to prevent, or address violence conflict. ICTs can be defined as ‘electronic equipment and applications that are used to find, analyse, create, communicate, disseminate and use information’. The ICTs surveyed in this paper include mobile phones, the internet, social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter, satellites, and GIS mapping applications, and the crowdsourcing of information through these platforms. A large number of applications have been developed to gather, map and disseminate data on peace and conflict. These include the Ushahidi platform, first developed in Kenya in 2008 and used widely since. The literature suggests that programmes using ICTs should pay close attention to contextual factors such as the use of technology, the population’s technological literacy, and the data analysis capacities of the implementing organisation. Humanitarian organisations have as yet developed few specific techniques to protect themselves from the malign use of ICT. Suggested safety measures include the use of data protection principles, risk assessments, and more advocacy of ‘humanitarian space’.