The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Online Security Jam

January 21, 2010


I know I was asked to comment here on international political economy issues, but how can I pass up the opportunity to point you all to the Online Security Jam?

Yes, on February 4, you too can participate in an online discussion of important security issues. You will “help make the world a safer place…online.” The Jam is being co-produced by the European Commission and NATO, who are just so..so..cutting edge, yes? Well, ok, it’s actually being organized by Security and Defence Agenda, a think tank, and IBM. The goal is to engage literally thousands of experts and non-experts alike in “widening the debate” beyond military concerns. As they say, “No one person has the solution. We all do.” They even have a “Guide to Jamming,” complete with a video, for those of us who are not so of-the-moment, not so part of the online social community.

Actually, I do applaud the idea of widening the debate. And the organizers are sensitive to the increasing influence of NGOs in security issues, which has not always captured the attention of the powers that be. I will be interested in seeing what comes out of the Jam session. Although, frankly, I am not confident that crowdsourcing is the way to solve security issues, even in the 21st century.

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Virginia Haufler is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park and is affiliated with the Center for International Development and Conflict Management. Her research focuses on the changing nature of governance in the global political economy, especially the role of transnational corporations and corporate social responsibility. Her current research examines how transnational regulation of the private sector addresses issues of conflict and corruption.

She is also Director of the Global Communities Living-Learning Program, which introduces freshmen to scholarship and experiences that explore globalization, global issues and intercultural understanding. She has been a visiting scholar at University College London, University of California-Irvine, the University of Southern California, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She has pressented her work at conferences, workshops and talks in more than a dozen countries. She has served on the boards of non-profit organizations, including Women in International Security, the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, and the OEF Foundation, and has advised the Principles for Responsible Investment and the Business4Peace Platform of the UN Global Compact. She has a M.A./Ph.D from Cornell University and dual B.A. from Pennsylvania State University.