The digitalisation of armed conflicts: Three humanitarian priorities


By Peter Maurer


As the world digitalises at unprecedented speed, digital technologies are changing warfare. Technological advances have the potential to help us improve the lives of millions of people and alleviate suffering. But new technologies also pose new risks to people: from cyber operations disrupting essential services to populations, to harmful information fuelling conflict and violence, to data breaches undermining the work of humanitarian organisations. To mitigate the risks of harm to people, we need both battle-proven and innovative responses: the long-standing rules of international humanitarian law must be respected and applied in a manner that provides adequate and sufficient protection for civilians and civilian infrastructure. In addition, we need to work with all relevant stakeholders – including industry, donors, civil society, media companies, NGOs – to sharpen our analysis and identify concrete, innovative, and comprehensive responses.