Digital War
School of Media Studies
The New School
Fall 2019

Instructor: Peter Asaro asarop AT newschool.edu
Time: Monday, 6:00 - 7:50 pm
Location: 6 East 16th Street

Course webpage is here: http://peterasaro.net/courses/2019War.html

Course blog is here: http://digitalwar2019.wordpress.com/

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 30%
Blog Entries & Comments: 20%
Research Project Idea: 5%
Research Project Full Proposal: 10%
Final Project Presentation 15%
Final Research Project: 20%

Class Attendance and Participation: 30%

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 5% 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 {on-time], 1 [late] or 0 [not completed] points), but I will read them and occasionally comment on them. There will be 10 posts reuired 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). THere is no specific topic for each post, but they should express your reactions to and reflections on the readings for that week.

Research Project Idea: 5%
Research Project Full Proposal: 10%
Final Project Presentation 15%
Final Research Project: 20%

Research Project Idea Due: October 7
Length: 300-500 words (approx. 1 page)

Research Project Full Proposal/Draft Due: November 18
Length: 500-2000 words (approx. 1-4 pages)

Final Project Presentations: December 9 & 16
Oral Presentation, 10 minutes (Powerpoint Optional)

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 one week 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 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 days 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 (www.icrac.net). 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.
Past group projects included a performance piece (with live drone and event poster), a short documentary film, and website: www.dronemediaproject.com.

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 26
Course Introduction

Student Introductions

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

Watch in Class: "Secrets of Silicon Valley: The Persuasion Machine" BBC, 59 min., 2017. (Access via your New School email/GDrive account only). If you have trouble viewing the .mkv file, try VLC Player.

Week of September 2
NO CLASS due to Labor Day

Week 2: September 9
Tools & Weapons


Brad Smith, and Carol Ann Browne, (2019)Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, Penguin Press

"United States vs. Microsoft," Wikipedia.

Richard Blumenthal and Tim Wu, (2018) "What the Microsoft Antitrust Case Taught Us," New York Times, May 18, 2018

Brad Smith, (2018) "Facial recognition technology: The need for public regulation and corporate responsibility," Microsoft CEO Blog Posts, July 13, 2018.

Brad Smith, (2018) "Technology and the US Military," Microsoft CEO Blog Posts, October 26, 2018.

Daniel Susser, (2019) "Ethics Alone Can't Fix Big Tech," Slate Future Tense, April 17, 2019.

James Vincent, (2019) "The Problem with AI Ethics," The Verge, April 3, 2019.

Watch: "Brad Smith takes his call for a Digital Geneva Convention to the United Nations," Microsoft Blog/YouTube Channel, November 9, 2017, 27 min..


Brad Smith and Harry Shum, (2018) The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and Its Role in Society, Microsoft, 2018.

Brad Smith, (2019) Microsoft Blog Posts.

"Tools and Weapons: A Conversation with Brad Smith and Trevor Noah, hosted by Prof. Asaro" 8:30pm, Tischman Auditorium, The New School, New York.

Week 3: September 16
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.

Seymour Hersh (2004) "Torture at Abu Ghraib," The New Yorker, May 10, 2004.

Gary Younge and Julian Borger (2004) "CBS Delayed Report on Iraqi Prison Abuse After Military Cheif's Plea," The Guardian, May 4, 2004.

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: Witness.org 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 4: September 23
Drones, Targeted Killing & Project Maven


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.

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.

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

Explore: LivingUnderDrones.org website

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

Explore: Pitch Interactive Visualization of BIJ Drone Strike Data

Kate Conger, "Google Employees Resign in Protest Against Pentagon Contract," Gizmodo, May 14, 2018.

Kate Conger, "Google Plans Not to Renew Its Contract for Project Maven, a Controversial Pentagon Drone AI Imaging Program," Gizmodo, June 1, 2018.

Matt Taibbi, "How to Survive America's Kill List," Rolling Stone, June 19, 2018.


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

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

Jeremy Scahill, "Alleged Target of Drone Strike That Killed American Teenager Is Alive, According to State Department," The Intercept, January 5, 2017.

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

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.

Week of September 30
NO CLASS due to Rosh Hashanah

Week 5: October 7
Project Ideas Due
Military Robotics & Autonomous Lethal Weapons, a.k.a. Killer Robots


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.

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.

Charlie Carpenter (2014) "The Skynet Factor: Four Myths About Science Fiction and the Killer Robot Debate," Washington Post, September 3, 2014.

U.S. Department of Defense, "Directive on Autonomy in Weapons Systems," NUMBER 3000.09, November 21, 2012 (Updated May 8, 2017).

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 and Matthew 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.

Roff, Heather M., and Richard Moyes (2016) “Meaningful Human Control, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Weapons.” Briefing paper prepared for the Informal Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, April 2016.

Peter Asaro (2016). “Jus nascendi, Robotic Weapons and the Martens Clause,” in Ryan Calo, Michael Froomkin and Ian Kerr (eds.) Robot Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 367–386.

Watch: Future of Life Institute (2017) Slaughterbots , Video, 8 min.

Listen: Nahlah Ayed, "Killer robots march into uncharted ethical territory," CBC Radio, September 20, (2019), 53 min.


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.

"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 6: October 14


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.

Brian Fung, "How to talk about blowing things up in cyberspace, according to the military," The Washington Post, July 23, 2014.

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

Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger, and Scott Shane, "The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.," The New York Times, December 13, 2016.

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

David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Nicole Perlroth, "The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More." The New York Times, October 15, 2017.

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

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.

Wkipedia, "Operation Aurora"

United States Strategic Command, Cyber Warfare Lexicon: A Language to Support the Development, Testing, Planning, and Employmnet of Cyber Weapons and Other Modern Warfare Capabilities, January 5, 2009.

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"

October 18-20
Humanitarian Disarmament Forum
More details here.
Contact me if you are interested in attending.

Week 7: October 21
Surveillance & the State


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

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


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

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.

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 8: October 28
From Propanada 1.0 to Fake News


Edward Bernays, Propaganda, Horace Liveright Inc., 1928, pp. 1-61 and 135-153.

Joseph Goebbels, "The Führer as a Speaker," German Propaganda Archive, Calvin College, 1936.

David Vaughn, "The Master's Voice," The Guardian, October 8, 2008.

Cornelia Epping-Jäger "Hitler’s Voice : The Loudspeaker under National Socialism." Intermédialités, 17 (2011): 83–104.

Joseph Goebbels, "Knowledge and Propaganda," German Propaganda Archive, Calvin College, 1934.

Watch: Joachim Fest and Christian Herrendoerfer, Hitler: A Career, 1977, 160 min.

Soumitra Dutta and Matthew Fraser, "Barack Obama and the Facebook Election," USA Today, Nov. 19, 2008.

Aaron Smith, "The Internet's Role in Campaign 2008," Pew Research Center, April 15, 2009.

Matthew Rosenberg and Kevin Roose, "Trump Campaign Floods Web With Ads, Raking In Cash as Democrats Struggle," New York Times, October 20, 2019.

Watch: Eli Parser, "Beware Online 'Filter Bubbles'," Ted Talk, March 2011, 9 minutes.

Will Oremus, "The Filter Bubble Revisted," Slate, April 5, 2017.

Watch: Jeff Hancock, "The Future of Lying," Ted Talk, September 2012, 18 minutes.

Watch: Amanda Hess, "Internetting with Amanda Hess: Episode 1: The Dark Art of Political Memes," New York Times, October 31, 2017, 4 min.

Watch: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver , "The Sinclair Group," HBO, July 2, 2017, 19 minutes.


Nikolas Rose & Thomas Osborne, "Do the Social Sciences Create Phenomena: The Case of Public Opinion Research," British Journal of Sociology, 50, 3 (1999): 367-396.

Nikolas Rose, "Governing by Numbers: Figuring Out Democracy," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 16, Issue 7, 1991, Pages 673-692.

Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky "A Propaganda Model," in Meenakshi Gigi Durham & Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 280-317.

Watch: Charlie Rose Interview with Steve Bannon, CBS 60 Minutes, September 2017, Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Watch: Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, 1992, 167 min.

Watch: Adam Curtis, The Century of the Self, 2002, 235 min.

Stuart Hall "Encoding/Decoding," in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 166-176.


Watch: Frontline, "Digital Nation," February 2, 2010.

Watch: Jeff Hancock, "Affect Affordances and the Psychological Effects of Using Social Media," Stanford University, January 15, 2016, 61 minutes.

Scott Shane, "The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election," The New York Times, September 7, 2017.

Jeff Hancock, "Trump's Bullsh*t: Why His Supporters Don't Care that He is Lying," CNN, October 17, 2016.

Editorial "Yes, I'd Lie to You," The Economist, September 10, 2016.

Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow, "Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), Spring 2017, pp. 211-236.

Regina Marchi, "With Facebook, Blogs, and Fake News, Teens Reject Journalistic "Objectivity"," Journal of Communication Inquiry, 36(3) pp. 246-262.

Keith Collins, and Kevin Roose, "Tracing a Meme From the Internet's Fringe to a Republican Slogan," New York Times, November 4, 2018.

Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti, "The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far," New York Times, September 20, 2018.

Explore: Alliance for Securing Democracy, Tracking Russian Influence Operations on Twitter, Website.

Watch: Jeff Hancock, "Truth, Trustworthiness and Technology in Political Campaigns," ACM, November 6, 2016, 70 minutes.

Watch: Sidney Lumet, Network, MGM, 1976, 121 min.


Week 9: November 4
Surveillance Capitalism


Shoshana Zuboff, "The Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospects of an Information Civilization," Journal of Information Technology, 30(1), 2015, pp. 75-89.

Ryan Holiday, Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, "Book Two: The Monster Attacks, What Blogs Mean," Portfolio/Penguin, 2012, pp. 123-236.

John Lanchester, "You Are the Product," London Review of Books, August 17, 2017.

Antonio Garcia Martinez, "I Helped Create Facebook's Ad Machine. Here's How I'd Fix It," Wired, September 22, 2017.

Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein, "Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook--And the World," Wired, February 12, 2018.

Evan Osnos, "Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?," The New Yorker, September 17, 2018.

Watch: Jaron Lanier Fixes the Internet, 2019, New York Times, 3 Episodes, 15 min.

Kashmir Hill, "I Got Access to My Secret Consumer Score. Now You Can, Too," The New Times, November 4, 2019.


Watch: Mark Zuckerberg Testimony to House Finance Committee, C-SPAN, October 23, 2019, 5 hours.

Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Public Affairs, 2018.

Week 10: November 11
Media Manipulation: Deep Fakes to Genocide


Watch: Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim, The Great Hack, 2019, Netflix, 113 min.

Jane Mayer, "How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump," The New Yorker, September 24, 2018.

Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, "How YouTube Radicalized Brazil," The New York Times, August 11, 201.

Whitney Phillips, "The Oxygen of Amplification: Better Practices for Reporting on Extremists, Antagonists, and Manipulators," Data & Society, May 22, 2018.

Del Harvey, "Help us shape our approach to synthetic and manipulated media," Twitter, November 11, 2019.

James Bridle, "Something is Wrong with the Internet," Medium, November 6, 2017.

K. G. Orphanides, "Children's YouTube is Still Churning Out Blood, Suicide and Cannibalism," Wired, March 23, 2018.

April Glaser, "YouTube Is Struggling to Deal With the Conspiracy Theory Videos That Flood the Site," Slate, February 26, 2018.

Alexis C. Madrigal, "How YouTube's Algorithm Really Works," The Atlantic, November 8, 2018.

Watch: "How YouTube's Algorithm Could Prioritize Conspiracy Theories," Vice News, March 5, 2018, 3 min.

Alex Hern, "Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify Ban Infowars' Alex Jones," The Guardian, August 6, 2018.

Watch: Frontline, "The Facebook Dilemma, Parts 1 & 2," PBS, October, 2018, 55 & 54 min.

Watch: Independent Lens, "The Cleaners," PBS, November 12, 2018, 86 min.

Watch: Sacha Baron Cohen, International Leadership Award Speech to the ADL, November 21, 2019, 25 min.


David Streitfeld, "Where the Trolls Reigned Free: A New History of Reddit," New York Times, October 30, 2018.

Kevin Roose, "Cesar Sayoc's Path on Social Media: From Food Photos to Partisan Fury," New York Times, October 27, 2018.

Julia Angwin, Madeleine Varner, and Ariana Tobin, "Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach 'Jew Haters'," ProPublica, September 14, 2017.

Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen and Spencer Ackerman, "Russia's Facebook Fake News Could Have Reached 70 Million Americans," DailyBeast, September 8, 2017.

Watch: David Fincher, The Social Network, 2010, 120 min.

Week 11: November 18
Project Proposals/Drafts Due

Information Warfare


Peter W.Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2018.

Herbert Lin, and Jaclyn Kerr, "On Cyber-Enabled Information/Influence Warfare and Manipulation," Oxford Handbook of Cybersecurity, 2018.

Alice Marwick, and Rebecca Lewis, "Media Manipulaiton and Disinformation Onine," Data & Society, 2017.

Alice Marwick, and Rebecca Lewis, "Media Manipulaiton and Disinformation Onine: Case Studies," Data & Society, 2017.

John Brockmiller, "PSYWAR in Intelligence Operations," CIA Report (SECRET), Declassified September 18, 1995.

Peter Pomerantsev, "Brave New War," The Atlantic, December 29, 2015.

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

Jill Dougherty, "How the Media Became One of Putin’s Most Powerful Weapons," The Atlantic, April 21, 2015.

Peter Pomerantsev, "Inside the Kremlin's Hall of Mirrors," The Guardian, 9 April 2015.

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

Samatha Power, "Why Foriegn Propaganda is More Dangerous Now," New York Times, September 19, 2017.

Niraj Chokshi, "How to Fight 'Fake News' (Warning: It Isn't Easy)", New York Times, September 18, 2017.

Massimo Calabresi, Inside Russia's Social Media War on America, Time, May 18, 2017.

Ryan Broderick, "A Step-By-Step Guide For How Russian Bots Trick Far-Right Trolls Into Spreading Fake News," BuzzFeed, September 24, 2017.

Nina Jankowicz, "The Only Way to Defend Against Russia's Information War," New York Times, September 25, 2017.

Daisuke Wakabayashi, and Nicolas Confessore, "Russia's Favored Outlet is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped." The New York Times, October 23, 2017.

Jim Rutenberg, "RT, Sputnick and Russia's New Theory of War," New York Times Magazine, September 13, 2017.

Sabrina Tavernise and Aidan Gardiner, "‘No One Believes Anything’: Voters Worn Out by a Fog of Political News," New York Times , November 18, 2019.

Cade Metz, "Internet Companies Prepare to Fight the ‘Deepfake’ Future" , New York Times, November 24, 2019.

Watch: NYTimes The Weekly, Episode 2: "Fake Believe", 2 min. trailer, Full episode on Hulu, 27 mins. (2019)


Suzanne Spaulding, Harvey Rishikof, "How Putin Works to Weaken Faith in the Rule of Law and Our Justice System," Lawfare, September 17, 2018.

Glenn J. Voelz, "The Rise of iWar: Identity, Information and The Individualization of Modern Warfare, Strategic Studies Instititue, October2015.

Watch: "Peter Pomerantsev: The Mechanics of Russia's Information War," YouTube, September 1, 2016, 10 minutes.

Watch: "Peter Pomerantsev: From Information to Disinformation Age - Russia and the Future of Propaganda Wars," YouTube, February 16, 2016, 72 minutes.

Christopher Paul, "Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Worked Example," RAND Report, 2017

Media War


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.

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. Paywalled

Watch: United States Information Agency (1984) Soviet Active Measures, 23 min.


Israeli Defense Forces_Spokesperson's_Unit

U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Media Activity

Wikipedia entry on DoD Defense Media Activity


Tuesday, November 19, 6-8pm
"Co-Opting AI: Conflict," Institute for Public Knowledge,
NYU Polytech, 370 Jay Street, Room 1201, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

Week 12: November 25
Bias in Algorithms: Automated Racism/Sexism/Agism/Ablism


Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, New York University Press, 2018.

Virginia Eubanks, Automating Inequality: How High-tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor, St. Martin's Press, 2017.

United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty, "Report on Digital Welfare States and Human Rights (A/74/493)"

Albert Fox Cahn, "The First Effort to Regulate AI was a Spectacular Failure", FastCompany, November 26, 2019.

Watch: Ken Loach and Laura Obiols, I, Daniel Blake, 1 hr. 40 min. (2016)


Watch: Joy Buolamwini, The Algorithmic Justice League, 2016, 9 min.

Cathy O'Neill, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, Crown Publishing, 2016.

Week 13: December 2
Biometrics, Public Surveillance & Predictive Policing


Woordow Harzog and Evan Selinger, "Face Recognition is the Perfect Tool for Oppression," Medium, August 2, 2018.

Jennifer Lynch, "Face Off: Law Enforcement Use of Face Recognition Technology," Electronic Frontier Foundation, February 12, 2018.

Peter Asaro, Kelly Gates, Woodrow Hartzog, Lilly Irani, Evan Selinger and Lucy Suchman, "Thanks to Amazon, the government will soon be able to track your face," The Guardian, July 6, 2018.

Letter From Academic Researchers in Support of Amazon Employees, "Amazon should not sell Face Rekognition Technologies to Police, Government or Intermediaries.," ICRAC, August, 2018.

Davey Alba, "With No Laws To Guide It, Here's How Orlando Is Using Amazon's Facial Recognition Technology," Buzzfeed, October 26, 2018.

Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner, "There's software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it's biased against blacks," ProPublica, May 23, 2016.

Peter Asaro (2019) " AI Ethics in Predictive Policing: From Models of Threat to an Ethics of Care," IEEE Technology & Society Magazine, Vol. 38, No. 2 (June 2019), pp. 40-53.

Peter Asaro (2016)"'Hands Up, Don't Shoot!' HRI and the Automation of Police Use of Force," Special Issue on Robotics Law and Policy, Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, Vol 5, No 3 (2016): pp. 55-69.

Peter Asaro (2016) "Will #BlackLivesMatter to RoboCop?," WeRobot 2016, University of Miami School of Law, Miami, FL, April 1-2, 2016.
Watch Video discussion (starts at 5:20).

Ava Kofman, "Taser Wants to Start Building an Army of Smartphone Informants," The Intercept, September 21, 2017.

Drew Harwell, "Doorbell-camera firm Ring has partnered with 400 police forces, extending surveillance concerns," The Washington Post, August 28, 2019.

Albert Fox Cahn, "The first effort to regulate AI was a spectacular failure," Fast Company, November 26, 2019.


Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race and the Future of Law Enforcement, New York University Press, 2017.

Timothy Williams, James Thomas, Samuel Jacoby and Damien Cave (2016) "Police Body Cameras: What do You See?," New York Times, April 1, 2016.

Listen: Podcast with Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, Data & Society, Nov. 2, 2017, 35 min.

Watch: Paul Verhoeven, Robocop, 1987, 102 min.

Week 14: December 9
Final Project Presentations

Hacktivism 2.0


Zeynep Tufecki, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, Yale University Press, 2017.

Scott Shane and Daisuke Wakabayashi, "'The Business of War': Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon," New York Times, April 4, 2018.

Google Employees, "Letter in Protest of Project Maven," 2018.

Letter From Academic Researchers in Support of Google Employees, "Google should withdraw from Project Maven and commit to not weaponizing its technology," ICRAC, May, 2018.

Lucy Suchman, Lilly Irani and Peter Asaro, "Google's March to the Business of War Must Be Stopped: We stand with thousands of Google employees, demanding an end to its contract with the US Department of Defense," Jacobin, May 16, 2018.

Kate Conger, "Google Employees Resign in Protest Against Pentagon Contract," Gizmodo, May 14, 2018.

Kate Conger, "Google Plans Not to Renew Its Contract for Project Maven, a Controversial Pentagon Drone AI Imaging Program," Gizmodo, June 1, 2018.

Polina Godz, "Tech Workers Versus the Pentagon: An Interview with Kim," Jacobin, June 6, 2018.

Tim Berners-Lee, "I Invented the World Wide Web. This is How We Can Fix It," New York Times, November 25, 2019.

David Golumbia, "Please Consider Supporting Our Legal Challenge to Cambridge Analytica's Role in the Trump Election," Uncomputing.org, October 16, 2017.

David Carroll, "Take Back our Voter Data," CrowdJustice.com

Bellingcat.com, The Home of Online Investigations.

Aric Toler, "Advanced Guide on Verifying Video Content," Bellingcat, June 30, 2017.

Watch: Raha Bahreini,"What Iran Did Not Want You to See," Video Op-ed, New York Times, December 2, 2019, 5 min.

Aric Toler, "Florida Trump Flash Mobs Organized by the Russian "Troll Factory," Bellingcat, September 20, 2017.


Yasmin Gagne, "How we fought our landlord's secretive plan for facial recognition-and won," Fast Comany, November 22, 2019.

Annalee Newitz, "A Better Social Media World Is Waiting for Us," New York Times, December 1, 2019.


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.

Week 15: December 16
NO CLASS: Work on Final Papers

December 20
Final Projects Due by 8pm ET, Friday December 20.