Digital War
School of Media Studies
The New School
Fall 2022

Instructor: Peter Asaro asarop AT newschool.edu
Time: Tuesday, 6:00 - 7:50 pm
Location: Synchronous Online (Zoom)

Course webpage is here: http://peterasaro.org/courses/2022War.html

Course blog is here: http://digitalwar2022.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 required 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 4
Length: 300-500 words (approx. 1 page)

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

Final Project Presentations: November 29 & December 6
Oral Presentation, 5 minutes (Powerpoint Optional) plus discussion

Final Project Due: December 9
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: https://vimeo.com/62904622.

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

Student Introductions

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

Watch Before Class: " Drones, Hackers and Mercenaries - The Future of War" DW Documentary, 42 min., April, 2022.

Week 2: September 6
Propaganda 1.0


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.

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: "President Biden's Remarks on Democracy," C-SPAN, September 1, 2022, 28 min.

Watch: "Trump Speaks at Dr Oz Rally in Pennsylvania" The Independent, September 3, 114 min.

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

Week 3: September 13
Propaganda 2.0: Fake News & Media Manipulation


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

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

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

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

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.

Nathan Ballantyne and David Dunning, "Skeptics Say, 'Do Your Own Research.' It's Not That Simple," New York Times, Jan. 3, 2022.

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.

George M. Eberhart, "Media Literacy in an Age of Fake News," American Libraries Magazine, November 1, 2019.

Arjun Appadurai, "Miscommunication," The Idea of Media, August 17, 2020.

Watch: PBS Frontline, "United States of Conspiracy," July 28, 2020, 54 min.

Watch: PBS Frontline, "American Insurrection," April 13, 2021, 84 min.

Jennifer Mercieca (2020) Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX.

Paul Rosenberg, "The secret of his success: Donald Trump's six weird tricks for authoritarian rule," Salon, July 4, 2020.

Miguel Lago, "Bolsonaro Isn't Preparing for a Coup. He's Preparing for a Revolution," New York Times Opinion, September 7, 2022.



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

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

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


Friday, September 16
New America Online Seminar (free registration required)
Josh Chin and Liza Lin, "Surveillance State: Inside China's Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control," 12-1pm ET

Week 4: September 20
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.

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

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.

Graphika and Stanford Internet Observatory (2022). "Unheard Voice: Evaluating five years of pro-Western covert influence operations," Stanford Internet Obseratory, August 24, 2022.

Julian E. Barnes and Sheera Frenkel (2022) "Pentagon Orders Review of Its Overseas Social Media Campaigns," New York Times, September 19, 2022.

JRenee DiResta, John Perrino (2022) "U.S. Influence Operations: The Military’s Resurrected Digital Campaign for Hearts and Minds," Lawfare, October 12, 2022.

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


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

Israeli Defense Forces_Spokesperson's_Unit

U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Media Activity

Wikipedia entry on DoD Defense Media Activity


Week 5: September 27
Russian Disinformation & Propaganda


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

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

Week 6: October 4
Project Ideas Due
Digital Tech & Ukrainian War


Andrew E. Kramer, "Hackers Bring Down Government Sites in Ukraine," New York Times, January 14, 2022

David E. Sanger, Julian E. Barnes and Kate Conger, "As Tanks Rolled Into Ukraine, So Did Malware. Then Microsoft Entered the War," New York Times, February 28, 2022

Neil MacFarquhar, "Two Days of Russian News Coverage: An Alternate Reality of War," New York Times, March 8, 2022

Sarah E. Needleman and Evan Gershkovich, "From YouTube to Rutube. Inside Russia's Influence Campaign," Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2022

Stuart A. Thompson, "The War in Ukraine, as Seen on Russian TV," New York Times, May 6, 2022

Serge Schmemann, "Putin's Information War Is Far From Over," New York Times Opinion, May 5, 2022

Julian E. Barnes and Edward Wong, "U.S. and Ukrainian Groups Pierce Putin's Propaganda Bubble," New York Times, April 13, 2022

Valeriya Safronova, Neil MacFarquhar and Adam Satariano, "Where Russians Turn for Uncensored News on Ukraine," New York Times, April 16, 2022

Lennart Maschmeyer and Nadiya Kostyuk, "There Is No Cyber 'Shock and Awe': Plausible Threats in the Ukrainian Conflict," War on the Rocks, February 8, 2022

Ciaran Martin, "Cyber Realism in a Time of War," Lawfare, March 2, 2022

Jelena Vićić and Rupal N. Mehta, "Why Russian Cyber Dogs Have Mostly Failed to Bark," War on the Rocks, March 14, 2022


Listen: Christopher Krebs and Robert Chesney, "Gray Zone, Twilight Zone, or Danger Zone? Russian Cyber and Information Operations in Ukraine", War on the Rocks Podcast, 37 min, March 18, 2022.

Farhad Manjoo, "The Ukrainian Cyberwar That Wasn’t," New York Times Opinion, March 11, 2022

Watch: "Putin's Road to War," PBS Frontline, 54 minutes, March 15, 2022.

Watch: "Ukraine: Life Under Russia's Attack," PBS Frontline, 54 minutes, August 2, 2022.

Week 7: October 11


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.

Jeff Sommer, "How Silicon Chips Rule the World." The New York Times, September 9, 2022.

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

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

Watch: Baltic Elves Fight Kremlin Trolls, Radio Free Europe, May 19, 2017, 3 min.


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

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

Wikipedia, "Operation Aurora"

Watch: Elves vs Trolls - Fighting Disinformation in Lithuania, NATO, May 3, 2017, 2 min.

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"

Wednesday, October 12
AI Ethics & Society (free on-line registration)
Milagros, Miceli, "Why Talk About Bias When We Mean Power? Shifting the Research Focus in AI and Data Ethics," 10-11:30am ET

Thursday, October 13
Paley Center Panel Discussion (in-person, $25 for General Admission)
Panel, "From the Cuban Missile Crisis to Ukraine: How Television Has Captured US-Russia Relations Over Sixty Years," The Paley Museum, 25 West 52 Street, NYC, 7pm ET

Tuesday, October 18
New America (free on-line registration)
Panel Discussion, "Big Tech, Censorship, and Terrorism," 12-1pm ET

Week 8: October 18
Digital War Journalism & The Targeting of Journalists


Donald Matheson and Stuart Allan (2009) Digital War Reporting, Chapters 1 & 2, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

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 Chief's Plea," The Guardian, May 4, 2004.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

Alison Smale, "For a Russian Journalist, the Family Trade Is Dissidence," New York Times, March 7, 2022.

Jason Gutierrez and Mike Ives, "Journalist Who Criticized Marcos Is Fatally Shot in the Philippines," New York Times, October 4, 2022.

Sui-Lee Wee, "Young, Underground Reporters 'Fight a Gun With a Pen' in Myanmar," New York Times, October 12, 2022.

Yeganeh Rezaian, "CPJ's Yeganeh Rezaian on mass protests and journalist arrests in Iran," Committee to Protect Journalists, September 29, 2022.

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.

Watch: "A Thousand Cuts," PBS Frontline, 100 minutes, January, 2021.


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

Wednesday, October 19
Library of America (free on-line registration)
"Lying and Politics: The Relevance of Hannah Arendt," 6-7pm ET

Thursday, October 20
New America Online Seminar (free registration required)
Panel, "How Should the U.S. Respond to Disinformation?," 12-1pm ET

Week 9: October 25
Drones & Targeted Killing


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

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

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

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, 53 min.

Explore: Bureau of Investigative Journalism "Drone Wars: The Full Data" website

Explore: Pitch Interactive Visualization of BIJ Drone Strike Data

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

Charlie Savage, "White House Tightens Rules on Counterterrorism Drone Strikes," New York Times, October 7, 2022.

Andrew E. Kramer, "From the Workshop to the War: Creative Use of Drones Lifts Ukraine," New York Times, August 10, 2022.

Austin Ramzy, "What is known about the Iranian-made drones that Russia is using to attack Ukraine," New York Times, October 17, 2022.

Yaroslav Trofimov and Dion Nissenbaum, "Russia's Use of Iranian Kamikaze Drones Creates New Dangers for Ukrainian Troops," The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2022.

Jane Perlez and Amy Chang Chien, "Chinese Drones: The Latest Irritant Buzzing Taiwan's Defenses," New York Times, September 10, 2022.


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.

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

Week 10: November 1
Project Proposals/Drafts Due
Military Robotics & Autonomous Lethal Weapons, a.k.a. Killer Robots


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).

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. "How Just Could a Robot War Be?" in Adam Briggle, Katinka Waelbers and Philip A. E. Brey (eds.), Current Issues in Computing And Philosophy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IOS Press, pp. 50-64, 2008.

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.

Peter Asaro (2019). "Algorithms of Violence: Critical Social Perspectives on Autonomous Weapons," Special Issue on Algorithms, Social Research, Vol. 86, No. 2 (Summer 2019), pp. 537-555.

Peter Asaro (2019). "What is an 'AI Arms Race' Anyway?," I/S: A Journal of Law for the Information Society, Vol. 15, No. 1-2 (Spring 2019), pp. 45-64.

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

Watch: Future of Life Institute (2021) Slaughterbots: If human:kill(), Video, 6 min.

Watch: New York Times (2019) A.I. Is Making it Easier to Kill (You). Here's How., Video, 20 min.

Watch: Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (2022) Immoral Code, Video, 23 min.

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

Watch/Read: Ousman Noor, "70 states deliver joint statement on autonomous weapons systems at UN General Assembly," Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, October 21, (2022), 7 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.

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.

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

Week 11: November 8
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 Maass, "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.

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

Dave Davies, "Facial Recognition And Beyond: Journalist Ventures Inside China's 'Surveillance State'" NPR, January 5, 2021.

Paul Mozur, Adam Satariano, Aaron Krolik and Aliza Aufrichtig, "'They Are Watching': Inside Russia's Vast Surveillance State," New York Times, September 22, 2022.

Watch:"Life Inside China's Total Surveillance State," 8 min., Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2017.

Watch:"Surveillance State: Inside China's Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control," 83 min., Asia Society, September 14, 2022.

Watch:"How China Trains the World's Autocrats to Surveil Their People," 13 min., New York Times, April 24, 2019.

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

Watch: Frontline, "The United States of Secrets, Part One", 114 min., May 13, 2014, and "United States of Secrets, Part Two," 53 min., October 12, 2022.


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 12: November 15
Bias in Algorithms: Automated Racism/Sexism/Agism/Ablism


Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Chapters, 1, 2 and 6, New York University Press, 2018.

Virginia Eubanks, Automating Inequality: How High-tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor, Chapters 1, 5 and Conclusion, 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: Joy Buolamwini, The Algorithmic Justice League, 2016, 9 min.


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

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

Thursday, November 17
Vas Karagionnopoulous, "The Past, Present and Future of Hacktivism: from the Electronic Disturbance Theater to Anonymous, Cyber-partisans, and Beyond", with Peter Asaro as Discussant, New School Graduate Program in International Affairs (free registration required), 4-6pm ET

Reading (TNS e-reserves): Karagiannopoulos, V., 2021. A Short History of Hacktivism: Its Past and Present and What Can We Learn from It. In Rethinking Cybercrime (pp. 63-86). Palgrave Macmillan.

Week 13: November 22
Biometrics, Public Surveillance & 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: November 29
Final Project Presentations

Hacktivism 2.0


Karagiannopoulos, V., 2021. A Short History of Hacktivism: Its Past and Present and What Can We Learn from It. In Rethinking Cybercrime (pp. 63-86). Palgrave Macmillan.

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

Max Fisher, "Even as Iranians Rise Up, Protests Worldwide Are Failing at Record Rates," New York Times, September 30, 2022.

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.

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: "Battle for Hong Kong," PBS Frontline, 54 minutes, February 2, 2020.


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 6
Presentation of Final Projects

December 9
Final Projects Due by 8pm ET, Friday, December 9.