This Walrus magazine article provides some further background to the project.
Last weekend, the Globe and Mail published two articles on Twitter, both of which were dismissive of the platform and were written by authors who do not actively use it. In short, “What Twitter is, and isn’t,” and “Will Twitter Change Politics?” by Konrad Yakabuski and Tom Flanagan respectively, informed us that Twitter and its users are trite, and liberal, and that its value should be judged by its ability to “change” elections.
Twitter has real advantages and limitations, but neither were spelled out. While it is encouraging to see public debate about this emerging form, it deserves a more nuanced discussion.
Twitter is used in a vast number of ways. For some it is a means of following friends; for others it is a source of links to news and articles. It increasingly serves as a collective fact checker for traditional media. Many use twitter as a newspaper or magazine, providing links to both breaking news, and longform journalism and reporting. During the Libyan revolution, citizens and revolutionaries used it to communicate with the outside world. The manhunt for the Boston bombers was live-tweeted, and twitter was used to corroborate the police scanner. During sporting events and awards shows it forms a collective second screen community. It is a place for snarky commentary, gossip, and breaking news. Some people tweet all day, others just watch.
The point is, any list of how twitter is used, will itself be trite. Users engage with Twitter in diverse ways for diverse reasons, just as they do with newspapers and TV.
For me, Twitter is a way of actively immersing myself in the communities in which I work and engage: international relations, digital technology, politics and journalism.
Using Twitter, I can actively participate in a 24-7 real-time collective conversation in each of these communities. In each, I follow and engage with academics, politicians, journalists, activists, technologists, and a wide range of citizens from all backgrounds and professions interested in the same subjects as me. Herein lies the real power of the form. Twitter is not an extension, or supplement to public discourse, it is a public discourse. And, compared to other media, a remarkably accessible form of it.
When people ask whether twitter can be democratizing, they usually ask, as Tom Flanagan did, whether it can shape elections. This is an attempt to prove relevance only via instrumentality, which to me is the wrong metric. Twitter has broken down the barriers of entry to public discourse. This, in itself, it it’s democratizing effect. We value free speech and newspapers for more than their instrumental effects, and so we should Twitter.
Twitter has been successful because it has become a part of the public and personal discourse, not because it overthrows dictators. The question driving the debate over what Twitter is and isn’t, therefore, shouldn’t be whether twitter will change politics, because twitter is politics. A gossip-mill or an accountability mechanism – just like any other political system, it is a reflection of the people who use it.
The fact that Twitter has become a de-facto public space poses real challenges. But these are not whether people have trouble finding useful information, or are overwhelmed by the pace, or don’t enjoy short videos – the problems depicted by Flanagan and Yakabuski. These are simply projections based on personal tastes, like saying I don’t like newspapers because they leave ink on my fingers, or they take too long to read.
The real challenge of Twitter, and social media more generally, is that we need to think carefully about what it means to devolve the public space to private companies. There are a wide range of challenges that stem from this. Here are four.
First, just as more newspapers go behind paywalls, and cable TV replaces broadcast, more and more of our public debate costs money. So far, Twitter has remained free. But with increasing pressures to commercialize, and the increase of social marketing, we will pay in some form or another. This payment will undoubtedly have an effect on Twitter’s democratizing role.
Second, we need to think as a society about how our individual and collective information (or “Big Data”) is being used by the private and public institutions that collect, sell, and trade it. In particular, who owns the data we leave behind as we engage online, or our “data exhaust”. The EU is grappling with these tough questions head on, and has recently proposed a right to erasure and deletion.
Third, Twitter needs to decide whether it is a publishing platform or a media company. Increasingly, Twitter, like YouTube and Facebook, is making editorial decisions about what content is allowed on their platform. Tweets to the videos of the killing of a child in Syria would be allowed, for example, whereas those to the mass shooting of a group of children in the United States would surely be taken down. Why, and how are these decisions being made? Twitter and Google both now issue transparency reports detailing their editorial decision making, as well as government requests for data. But these only provide a very limited glimpse.
Finally, what is the nature of free speech on privately owned platforms? Over the course of the twentieth century, we developed laws, regulations, and norms around public communication on TV, radio, and in print. Few of these have transferred to the new public squares, which are almost wholly owned by increasingly monopolistic private companies, in varying degrees of contact and partnership with national governments.
Twitter is many things to many people, and its uses present a vast array of opportunities and challenges. Let’s seriously debate the changes it represents in the way we communicate and interact, not dismiss it as a trite fad.
This week, in partnership with Google, we launched a new feature on OpenCanada.org called the OpenGlobal Show. Each episode, I will connect with a panel of friends/colleagues/experts on international affairs through Google Hangout.
For the first episode, the panelists were:
- Ivan Sigal, Executive Director, Global Voices
- Joshua Foust, International affairs writer, analyst, and columnist for PBS
- Katherine Maher, Director of strategy and engagement at the digital rights organization Access
Given the weeks events, I wanted to dive into three moments in the days following the Boston bombing that I think represent changes in the way the public engages with breaking events:
- Yesterday: Was the Reddit community manhunt a positive use of the released photo?
- Last night: Is this our first post-cable national news story?
- This morning: What do we know about the suspects’ backgrounds, and can we process these assumptions usefully in real time?
- Next week: What will be drowned out by this story next week?
The video of the first episode is below, and the link to the OpenCanada.org home for the show is here.
Imagine that you are living somewhere in Pakistan, Yemen, or Gaza where the U.S. suspects a terrorist presence. Day and night, you hear a constant buzzing in the sky. Like a lawnmower. You know that this flying robot is watching everything you do. You can always hear it. Sometimes, it fires missiles into your village. You are told the robot is targeting extremists, but its missiles have killed family, friends, and neighbors. So, your behavior changes: you stop going out, you stop congregating in public, and you likely start hating the country that controls the flying robot. And you probably start to sympathize a bit more with the people these robots, called drones, are monitoring.
As reports of the Obama administration’s policy on the use of drones to target American citizens trickle out, infuriating libertarians and flummoxing liberals, their global use continues unabated.
The drone program is now one of the signature foreign policy initiatives of the Obama Administration, and its scale is significant: since 9/11, over 4,000 drones have been employed in surveillance, reconnaissance, and lethal attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan alone. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the Defense Department will spend about $36.9 billion across its different branches on 730 new medium-sized and large drones through 2020. This does not include the wide range of experimental research into such technologies as swarm drones, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). These small bird or insect sizes drones, capable of flying in coordinated masses, will challenge current conceptions of weaponry, and push the bounds of ubiquity in modern warfare.
The reports of the numbers of people killed by American drones vary. Senator Lindsey Graham recently remarked, “We’ve killed 4,700 … Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of Al-Qaeda.” Much of the conversation about the impact of these strikes has rightly focused on the moral and legal costs of these civilian casualties, but it is a mistake to judge the impact of the U.S. drone program only by the number of sorties or kills. When this is the sole basis for evaluation, it is easy to argue that there is nothing particularly unique about this form of warfare – that these people would have been targeted and killed by U.S. Special Forces or manned aircrafts had the drone program not been in place. But this type of analysis misses a defining characteristic of the drone program that makes it qualitatively different from the less sophisticated weaponry that it is replacing: ubiquitous drone use blurs the line between citizen and militants.
The psychological impact of drone surveillance, when combined with the civilian casualties we already know occur during strikes, leads to significant negative strategic costs that need to be incorporated into our assessment of the drone program.
Drones don’t enter into a battlefield like a strike fighter or Special Forces team, quickly taking out the target, and then leaving. Drones are omnipresent. They hover over villages and cities, watching, then killing, then watching again. Like Big Brother. What are the human and strategic costs of this uninterrupted drone presence?
This infringement of basic privacy, combined with potential lethality, has a profound psychological effect on those living with drones overhead. There have been a wide range of studies investigating this phenomenon (see list at bottom of the post); Living Under Drones, a study conducted in the northern tribal region of Waziristan, is by far one of the most comprehensive ones. Taken up at the request of the U.K.-based non-profit Reprieve, this study was conducted by lawyers and researchers at Stanford University (International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, IHRCRC) and New York University (Global Justice Clinic), with help from a local Pakistani non-profit, Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR).
The findings of this study are striking and, more importantly, truly disturbing. For instance, a vast majority of people reported being perpetually scared of drone strikes, day and night. Just the constant noise above makes people experience bouts of emotional trauma and symptoms of anxiety. And these symptoms are more widespread than previously thought – there are reports of men, women, and children too terrified to sleep at night. Medical practitioners have asserted that these anxiety-related disorders amongst the people of Waziristan often manifest themselves in the form of physical illness, ranging from headaches to heart attacks, even suicides.
Drone-induced anxieties are profoundly impacting the way these people live their lives. For example, most kids in Waziristan no longer attend school. People avoid daily activities such as grocery shopping, farming, and driving for fear of drone strikes. One psychiatrist argues that this behaviour is symptomatic of “anticipatory anxiety” – a psychological phenomenon that causes people to constantly worry about their immediate future (this is very common in conflict zones). People experiencing anticipatory anxiety report having emotional breakdowns, running indoors for safety, hiding during the day, having nightmares, and other anxiety-related problems which dramatically affect their ability to live their lives.
In his account, David Rohde described both the fear the drones inspired among his captors, as well as among ordinary civilians: “The drones were terrifying. From the ground, it is impossible to determine who or what they are tracking as they circle overhead. The buzz of a distant propeller is a constant reminder of imminent death.
Similar examples of psychological trauma exist in Gaza, where people report that drones disrupt their daily activities, making them feel powerless and unsafe. The emotional trigger/stressor identified by most Palestinians is the buzzing sound of the drones. Again, they report avoidance of social activities and tribal rituals, including weddings, funerals, and burial processes, and consequent disengagement from their communities.
Scientifically and medically speaking, this phenomenon can be explained as an outcome of unpredictability and uncontrollability. It is very akin to reactions to torture. In particular, some have argued that living under drones leads to psychological trauma based on the learning theory formulation of torture, which states that exposure to inescapable and uncontrollable stressor events “that threaten physical and/or psychological well-being” lead to “a state of total helplessness.”
The broader impacts of drone use are revealing. They expose the false dichotomy between civilians and militants that underlies both the tactical decision-making process and much of the public debate about that process. Drones do not only affect their intended “kills” – they affect the civilians literally caught in their kill zones, and those living under them in fear day and night.
There is a clear and undeniable moral dimension of this form of warfare. But there are also real strategic costs. What do the people living under drones, let alone those who have had family and friends killed, think about the countries operating them? As one mental health professional remarked to a Living Under Drones researcher, “People who have experienced such things, they don’t trust people; they have anger, a desire for revenge … So when you have these young boys and girls growing up with these impressions, it causes permanent scarring and damage.”
As Ben Kiernan and I noted in an article that draws parallels between the use of airpower in Afghanistan to the U.S. bombing of Cambodia, when U.S. bombs hit a civilian warehouse in Afghanistan in late 2001, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld responded: “We’re not running out of targets, Afghanistan is.” There was laughter in the press gallery.
The January 13, 2006 aerial strike by a U.S. predator drone on a village in Pakistan that killed women and children and inflamed local anti-U.S. political passions is a pertinent example of what continues to occur in Afghanistan and Iraq. The “collateral damage” that occurred in this case even undermined the positive sentiments previously created by billions of dollars of U.S. post-earthquake aid to that part of Pakistan. Aside from the killing of innocent civilians, how many new enemies does U.S. bombing create?
Drones may ultimately prove strategically beneficial. They may even prove more palatable, in a human rights sense, than the alternatives. But when we calculate their utility in war, we need to include a full accounting of the strategic costs, including the long-term implications of widespread psychological warfare.
Some important studies/sources and their findings/arguments:
- Living Under the Drones (Stanford Law and NYU Law)
- The Civilian Impact of Drones (Columbia Law School)
- Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2013 (Long War Journal)
- Drones and Physical and Psychological Implications of Global Theatre of War (Medact)
- Year of the Drones (New America Foundation)
- Predator Drones, Empathy, and the President (Psychology Today)
- Drone Strikes or Mass Torture – A Learning Theory Analysis (Metin Basoglu)
- The Drone Wars: 9/11-Inspired Combat Leans Heavily on Robot Aircraft (Scientific American)
- Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals (Bureau of Investigative Journalism)
This article is cross-posted on opencanada.org
I have two books on human security coming out this year, which have both just gone to production. The first is a Sage Major work on Human Security, which is a four volume best-of the human security literature. I choose 75 articles that I think should define the field, and prefaced the set with an introduction article. The book is meant for libraries.
The second is the Routledge Handbook on Human Security, which I edited to Mary Martin. This one is made of up new articles on human security from some of the top statesmen and academics in the field, including: Amartya Sen, Mary Kaldor, Lloyd Axworthy, Javier Solana and Sadako Ogata.
Consider for a moment two scenarios.
One, a malicious energy reporter tasked with reviewing an electric car decides he is going to fake the review. Part of this fictional narrative, is that the car needs to run out of battery power sometime in the review. He arrives at one of the charging stations, and instead of plugging in, spends a few minutes circling the parking lot trying to drain the battery.
Second, an energy reporter is tasked with reviewing the potential of a new electric car charging network. He arrived at one of the charging location in the dark, and can’t find the charging station. He drives around the parking lot several times looking for it, before finding it and charging his car.
Here is the thing. As Craig Silverman recently pointed out to me, we actually have no idea, based on the interpretation of the review data released by Tesla, which narrative is true. All the data shows is a car driving around a parking lot. And here in lies the principle lesson from the whole Tesla affair: Data is laden with intentionality, and cannot be removed from the context in which it was derived. We do not know, from these data alone, what happened in that parking lot.
David Brooks touched on this very issue in a recent (somewhat overly maligned in my opinion) column on the limits to big data. While his Italian banking analogy felt misplaced, there is actually a large amount of research backing up his general themes. And his point that data struggles with context, is directly relevant to the Tesla dispute:
Data struggles with context. Human decisions are not discrete events. They are embedded in sequences and contexts. The human brain has evolved to account for this reality. People are really good at telling stories that weave together multiple causes and multiple contexts. Data analysis is pretty bad at narrative and emergent thinking, and it cannot match the explanatory suppleness of even a mediocre novel.
In the case of the Tesla review, it is this context that was both poorly recorded by Broder, and which is missing from the Tesla data analysis. This does not mean the analysis is wrong. But it does mean it’s incomplete.
A couple of further points about the role data played in this journalistic dispute.
First, the early triumphalism against the New York Times in the name of both Telsa and data transparency, were premature. In Tesla’s grand rebuttal, Musk clearly overplayed his rhetorical hand by arguing that the review was faked, but he also overstated both the case he could make with the data, as well as the level of transparency that he was actually providing. Tesla didn’t release the data from the review. Telsa released their interpretation of the data from the review. This interpretation took the form of the graphical representation they choose to give it, as well as the subjective write-up they imposed on it.
What is interesting is that even with this limited and selective data release (ie, without the raw data), entirely different narrative interpretations could be built. Broder and his New York Times team presented one. But Rebecca Greenfield at the Atlantic provided an even more detailed one. There are likely elements of truth scattered across these three interpretations of the data. But they are just that – interpretations.
Second, the only person who can provide the needed context to this data is Broder, the reviewer himself. And the only way he can convey this information is if we trust him. Because of his “problems with precision and judgement,” as the New York Times’ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan put it, his trust was devalued. So the missing journalistic piece to this story is lost. Even in a world of data journalism, trust, integrity and journalistic process still matter. In fact, they matter all the more.
Finally, we can’t lose sight of the outcome Tesla wanted from this. They wanted PR for their new vehicle. So amongst all of the righteous indignation, it is worth noting that journalistic principles are not their core objective – good stories about their products are. These may or may not be aligned. This is why, for example, Broder was given significant support and access during his review trip (some of which ultimately proved to be misguided).
An example of this discrepancy surrounds the one clear reality about the Model S (and presumably electric cars in general) that was revealed in the review – they lose significant charge when not plugged in during cold weather. Now, Tesla would rather this fact had not emerged in the review. But it did. And as Steven Johnson pointed out, this has significant implications, specifically for city drivers. For one, it makes parking the Tesla S on the street in the winter (what many urban dwellers would have to do), largely impractical.
So, to recap. The Tesla Affair reinforces that: data does not equal fact; that context matters enormously to data journalism; that trust and documentation are even more important in a world of data journalism; and that companies will continue to prioritize positive PR over good journalism in reviews of their products.
Crossposted on the Tow Center for Digital Journalism blog
There is a new arms race emerging between people who want to communicate freely and securely and governments that want to monitor and limit this communication. In democratic countries, this government interference ranges from the mass monitoring of telecoms to flirtations with cutting off social media flows and shutting down cell towers in protest areas. When autocratic countries face crisis and conflict, however, the battle for control over communication is more troublesome and the risks are more acute.
Linking the interference being run by governments in democratic and autocratic countries is the technologies being deployed by both. And therein lies a paradox: The tools that enable autocratic governments to monitor and control their citizens are produced by western technology companies.
Much like the arms trade, this often creates an awkward scenario in which western countries end up supporting opposition movements that are fighting against technology bought from western countries. Sometimes this collusion backfires in provocative and potentially controversial ways. For example, in Syria, American journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Rémi Ochlik were killed by a mortar attack that was most likely carried out by targeting their satellite phones. It is widely held that this technology was provided by western companies.
There are many recent examples of this phenomenon, especially within the context of the Arab Spring. High profile technology companies such as Gamma (UK) and FinSpy offered surveillance services to regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, and Syria. Google Engineers discovered contract proposals between Gamma and the Mubarak regime – €250,000 worth of spy technology that would “enable them [Egypt] to intercept dissidents’ emails, record audio and video chats, and take copies of computer hard drives.” The SpyFiles operation by Wikileaks and Privacy International further revealed 287 documents indicating that these surveillance companies such French arms dealer, Amesys, sold both spyware and malware technologies (including Trojans) to the Gaddafi regime.
The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto has uncovered a wide range of examples of complicity between western companies and authoritarian regimes. Most recently, it showed that devices manufactured by Blue Coat Systems, a California-based hardware company, were in use by 61 countries, with histories of human rights abuses. In 2011, it detailed how Syria used Blue Coat software to both censor the Internet and root out particular activities linked to pro-democracy activists.
Western governments use this same type of commercial filtering and monitoring technology to monitor and restrict the online behaviour of their employees. This means that western governments could very well be implicitly supporting private companies that develop technologies that assist the oppressive regimes the oppose.
Indeed, if one were to attend a trade show for such technologies, as a Washington Post journalist recently did, one would find more than 35 United States federal agencies buying the very same technologies as the autocrats. As reported in the Atlantic, Jerry Lucas, who runs a trade show called ISS world, which is known as the “Wiretapper’s Ball” was asked by the Guardian whether he would be comfortable with Zimbabwe and North Korea buying technology at his trade shows. He responded, “That’s just not my job to determine who’s a bad country and who’s a good country. “That’s not our business, we’re not politicians … we’re a for-profit company. Our business is bringing governments together who want to buy this technology.”
The U.S. State Department, which has spent $70 million promoting internet freedom abroad, is part of a government that has few regulations on the trade of the technology that prevents such freedom. A bill has been before the United States Congress to prevent the sale of this technology to “Internet-restricting countries” since 2006, but the bill faces implementation challenges, as the list of countries in question now includes most nation states. And there are other real limits to what western governments can do, due to both the scale of the industry, estimated at $5 billion a year globally, and the limits of contemporary international law.
There have been some positive steps: Last year a U.S. congressional subcommittee passed the Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA), “creating a new transparency standard for Internet companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges and operating in countries that substantially censor or control the Internet.” The GOFA would force U.S. companies listed on the U.S. Stock exchange to release information on their human rights due diligence.
Of course, these technologies have the potential to be used for both positive and negative impact (they are dual-use). This poses a particular challenge to governments trying to use these technologies for good. For example, the U.S. government is funding Commotion Wireless, a sophisticated hacking project that seeks to enable activists by undermining internet censorship in countries such as Syria and Iran, however the FBI recently warned that these same anonymizing and encryption tools might be “indicators of terrorist activities.”
The question for policymakers, then, is whether anything beyond challenging regulatory measures can be done to overcome the dual-use dilemma, or whether it is simply a fact of life in a radically open operating environment. Whatever the reply, a relatively simple place to start would be to support the development of technologies that empower individuals, rather than enabling the production and trade of tools used for surveillance and oppression.
For example, a Swedish research team recently developed a new tool that allows Tor communication (a tool that anonymizes internet use) to be cloaked within services like Skype in order to circumvent recent changes to the Chinese “firewall” that had compromised those who used those services. Similarly, a team at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, in partnership with Stanford Computer Science, has built an app called Dispatch that allows for secure communication between journalists and their sources in areas of conflict. Another app, Silent Circle, allows users to send encrypted files of up to 60 megabytes via text message. These are tools that our governments should support. One can even imagine a virtual embassy incentivizing such projects. Too often, however, these surveillance-evading tools ruffle the feathers of autocratic and democratic governments alike.
What we are ultimately seeing is an arms race between oppressive governments and their citizens. It is high time that our democratically elected governments cease supporting, either tacitly or explicitly, the technologies enabling government surveillance.
Crossposted on OpenCanada.org
David Eaves and I have a review of Peter C Neman’s When the Gods Changed, in this month’s Literary Review of Canada. We use it to continue to explore the theme of progressive politics that has now been the basis of many joint articles, opeds and a forthcoming book. Our initial piece on this topic was also in the LRC, three years ago, called Progressivisms End.
A few key graphs from the Newman review, titled Liberal Baggage: The Party’s Greatest Burden May be its Past Success are below, but the whole thing is here:
Newman seems intent on forcing the Liberal Party’s troubles into a narrative of psychological disrepair. And it is certainly true that the cocksure certainty of governance among party faithful takes time to dissipate. But an author who spends years looking at the world through the eyes of his or her subjects can fall victim to a type of biographical determinism—a view of history that places far too much weight on the actions of those being written about. Herein lies the central problem with this book. Newman wants to see the recent decline of the Liberal Party exclusively through the thoughts and actions of his subjects, Michael Ignatieff and a few “kingmakers” around him.
The Liberal Party’s real baggage is not psychological; it is institutional. Over the course of a century, the party built a series of social institutions designed for an industrial world. As the information age has fundamentally changed citizens’ challenges and expectations, Liberals have been left defending the existence of institutions, some now broken or in disrepair, over the progressive values they were originally intended to promote.
While Davey is dismissive of his efforts to reform the party, the reality is that both he and Ignatieff brought a wide range of new people, energy and ideas into the Liberal fold. But these people will need to move beyond a rearticulation of 20th-century ideas, presented through a modernized campaign. They will need to rethink the place of liberal politics in Canadian society. Newman is right: a 21st-century Liberal party may not look anything like the 20th-century juggernaut. But that would be a good thing.
A short essay for the Ottawa Citizen a few weeks ago:
Before becoming leader of the Labour Party, Tony Blair wrote a pamphlet for the august thinktank of the British left, The Fabian Society, in which he questioned the socialist pillar of his party’s constitution. Adopted in 1918, Clause IV tied the Labour Party to a goal of nationalizing the means of production, distribution and exchange. At the time, this clause reflected a modern vision for the industrialization of 20th-century Britain. Eighty-five years later, it was a millstone around the neck of a party seeking to reinvent itself for a post-industrial world.
In his leadership acceptance speech a year later, Blair challenged the party to abolish Clause IV and to build with him a New Labour, one that embraced markets, technology and globalization. In one act, he redefined both the vision and structure of his party, took on the once intransigent party establishment, and made it clear that the Labour Party was to become a 21st-century institution, rather than a 20th-century one.
It is hard to look at the Liberal Party of Canada and not think that they too need a Clause IV moment. At the base of most of their problems, and there are many, lies a similar core challenge that once faced Labour: the Liberal party is an institution that has failed to modernize. In structure, operation, policy and vision, it is a 20th-century party in a 21st-century Canada.
While there has been much premature prognosticating of the Liberals’ demise, it is certainly worth keeping the party’s very real challenges front of mind.
First, the structure of the party remains laden with bureaucracy, committees, and entrenched interests. Over time (and despite much success) it has simply become bloated. More critically, lines of authority have been blurred. On any issue, it is unclear whether the leader, their staff and advisers, the party executive, regional leadership, MPs, riding associations, committees or party members have legitimate agency or control. This leads to endless internal tension. This may have been acceptable in an era where the party was in power, with lots of jobs to fill and flush funds. It is profoundly illsuited for a lean period of rebuilding and innovation.
Second, operationally, the party remains out of date. Voter identification has only recently been digitized, fundraising is built around a low volume/big donor model that no longer exists, the membership system is easily corruptible, the volunteer structure draws only on the most strident party faithful, and there is no network of like-minded organizations and think-tanks. How can this party expect to compete with a conservative political machine that has rebuilt itself from the bottom up?
Third, on the policy front, the party is stalled. It is stuck in a vision of Canada successfully implemented in the late 20th century, but which hasn’t kept up with the rapidly changing world. Simply put, the party has prioritized the defence of the progressive institutions and programs that it built, over the outcomes they were intended to enable.
Canadians know – as health care threatens to eat up 50 per cent of provincial budgets and service levels remain mixed – that their healthcare system is broken.
Young Canadians don’t trust that a pension system will exist for them. Anyone can see that traditional peacekeeping cannot solve today’s international conflicts. Where are the bold progressive policy ideas on health care, drug policy, inequality, climate change and education? All are ripe for a rethinking that prioritizes progressive outcomes rather than dated 20th-century progressive processes.
Finally, the party does not have an overarching vision that resonates in a 21st-century Canada. Liberals are not alone. At the heart of the challenge facing the emergence of a new Liberal vision is a paradox plaguing centre-left parties around the world. Voters see a system of government built for a different age, one far less effective at delivering services than any other institution in their lives. Conservatives have an easy answer to this inefficiency – get rid of government. The Liberal challenge is far more difficult; they must present a convincing argument for reforming rather than dismantling government.
It is through the lens of these challenges that next week’s party convention should be viewed. While non-leadership party conventions hold limited expectations, this is no ordinary time for the Liberal party. It is fair to ask: do the proceedings of this event lay the groundwork for revolutionary rather than evolutionary change?
There are three areas in which we can look for indicators: the proposed policy resolutions, the proposed constitutional amendments, and the candidates running for the party presidency.
First, while true that party platforms are rarely made on the tangled convention floor, anyone looking for a new vision of Canada in the list of policy resolutions is sure to be disappointed. There are the usual general calls for national programs and strategies (post-secondary education, child care, anti-poverty, a national energy grid, national pharmacare, increased research funding, universal broadband). There is a proposal for (yet another) Renewal Commission, a suggestion to ban the penny, a call to oppose Bill C-11 (the government’s copyright legislation) and another to reinstate the long-form census. None of the health-care resolutions address the underlying structural challenges, and only one of the foreign policy proposals, a resolution on corporate international responsibility, offers more than platitudes to “be better.”
There are two exceptions to this rather bland list, both proposed by the Young Liberals: the requisite call to legalize marijuana and a resolution to cut ties with the monarchy. The time has surely come for national conversations on each, and both have a cross partisan constituency. Irrespective of their individual merit, these are the type of policy explorations than will need to come out of a party in renewal. A hundred more bold ideas and we’d have a real policy conversation.
Second, while most of the proposed procedural constitutional amendments represent minor adjustments, two are significant, and while flawed, will signal the party members’ appetite for real structural change.
The first proposal is to create a new category of party member, called a supporter, who can register to vote in the party leadership. This is what is being called the “primary model” and the intention is to bring more Canadians into the leadership selection process. As many have pointed out, this is a big idea, and one with lasting consequence, but it may not pass due to a failure to spell out the specifics in the resolution.
The second, related resolution will allow these supporters to participate in riding candidate nominations. This idea is modelled on the “open nomination” trials that David Cameron successfully conducted in the lead-up to the last British election, and are meant to break away from entrenched party member control of candidate selection.
While imperfect (true open nominations freed from incumbency and party membership would go significantly further than either resolution), and perhaps unlikely to pass in their current form, the intent of both of these proposed reforms gets at one of the core challenges facing the party, namely, how to attract and entice both riding and leadership candidates from outside of the party ecosystem. Together, they reflect a recognition that the party needs new blood if it’s going to survive.
Finally, the election of the new party president has turned into a symbolic initial marker of the party’s reform. Rightly or wrongly, Mike Crawley has emerged as the reform candidate and Sheila Copps as the leader from the past. Copps has strong links to the old left of the party, and is even proposing a national tour of former Liberal MPs to reinvigorate the party. Crawley on the other hand has successfully captured the support, if not yet imagination, of the next generation of the party. For this reason, his likely victory will be at the least a symbolic win for advocates of substantive reform.
Liberal renewal has been largely empty rhetoric ever since Paul Martin’s 2006 election loss. Up until now, entrenched party interests and actors have won out over real reform. Attempts to shake up policy, to bring in new big ideas, have been vigorously fought off by the party establishment. There hasn’t been a Clause IV moment; no one has even tried.
But the reality is that there is opportunity in the current electoral landscape. On the right is a Conservative party that, at its core, doesn’t believe in the federal government. Its appeal is the offer to dismantle the parts of the system that are broken, but in so doing it will leave behind many of those who are protected and enabled by the government.
On the left is a party whose vision is to return Canada to the 1960s. It’s a world of a strong national government, of an even bigger health-care system, social safety net and welfare state. The conservatism of the left means protecting what is unsustainable.
There is room in between for a re-imagined progressive federal vision. One that is built around the political axes of the 21st century: open vs. closed systems; evidence-based policy vs. ideology; meritocratic governance vs. patronage; open and fair markets vs. isolationism; sustainability vs. disposability, and emergent networks vs. hierarchies.
The question now is whether the threat of extinction is sufficient to spur the innovation of ideas, people and structures needed to turn the broken-down 20thcentury jalopy that is the current Liberal party into a state-of-the-art vehicle purpose-built for a 21st-century progressive vision.
Cross-posted on CIC Dispatch Blog
Billed as the Davos for Security, the Halifax International Security Forum – funded by the Department of National Defence (DND) – sought and accomplished to court the security elite. Last weekend’s lavish affair was attended by nearly 20 defence ministers, top global security analysts, beltway security consultants, international affairs journalists, and a handful of security academics. As at Davos, it’s hard to fault the execution, and the host, Peter Mackay, deserves a lot of credit.
Throughout the event, though, I couldn’t help asking whether this was the right group of people having the right conversation at the right time. With deeply troubled military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, attention increasingly turning to Asia and the BRICs, and much of the world embroiled in an uprising against concentrated political and financial power, what is the value proposition of a largely Euro-Atlantic, NATO-focused confab of security-sector leaders?
This feeling was magnified by the subject matter on the agenda. For two days, debate swirled around the purchasing of F35s, the potential invasion of Syria and bombing of Iran, and the western security implications of Arab revolutions. Throughout, military actions were discussed in an unproblematic way, as part of a natural escalation of engagement.
This was not entirely surprising, as the event was, for all intents and purposes, a military conference. But even for a military conference, this discourse seemed limited. There was no discussion of the abyss of the war in Afghanistan, the very real problems with the Libya mission (beyond the easy success of bombing fixed, undefended targets), or the dilemma that no one wants to put troops on the ground in NATO missions.
Talking about this with a sage colleague, I was reminded that the Security and Defence Forum (SDF) program, also funded by the DND, was recently cut. Over four decades, the SDF program financed a wide range of Canadian academic work on security. There are rumours that the program was cut not just for budgetary reasons, but because its policy utility was questioned – what use is critical academic work to the running of a defence policy? Interestingly, the budget of the SDF was similar to the rumoured budget of the Halifax forum – around two million dollars.
There is, of course, no reason to suggest a direct connection between the two programs, but it is worth discussing what we are losing and acquiring with this amount of money. Is it more valuable to fund an academic program on security or a two-day event that brings together the global power brokers? What are the trade-offs between a conversation you cannot control and one you diligently curate?
The SDF program, for all its faults, funded a wide range of security thinking and conversation. While some of this was classical defence studies, it also involved theoretical, practical, and political critiques of security policy. In so doing, the SDF fostered a community of academics engaged in the Canadian security discussion, and the openness of the program supported a very diverse range of security perspectives.
It is a trope in international relations to say that the world of security changed “after the end of the cold war.” The Economist magazine even bans articles that start with those words. But it is certainly true: The security conversation now rightly involves any number of auxiliaries to military affairs, including development, human rights, the environment, public health, local violence, and so on. The SDF program encouraged this broad view of security.
This critical perspective was virtually nowhere to be seen in Halifax. Save for regular interventions from Anne-Marie Slaughter and Ambassador Swanee Hunt, the discussion was almost exclusively centred on the military and global economic sides of security. Participants and speakers often came across as too aligned – too in agreement about the primary security threats and the necessary responses. The downside of controlled discourse, of course, is groupthink. And groupthink can be dangerous.
If there is one lesson we learned from the financial crisis, it’s that those in charge were not as smart as they thought they were. Left unchecked, the financial elite put a global system at risk by seeking, at every step, to maximize their interests. There was no balance at the global decision-making table, so one perspective – one worldview and set of interests – ran amok.
Such can also be the case with security policy. Does talk among decision-makers of bombing Iran, left unchecked by criticism, make bombing more likely to occur? Quite possibly. Do self-oriented discussions among militaries perpetuate the failures of Afghanistan, in which militaries sought and got “quick victories” but completely missed the larger purposes and goals involved? Probably. Does glorifying the John McCain approach to U.S. foreign policy make Canada more likely to act in this mould? Maybe. Does having a security conversation dominated by the military, with little engagement from diplomatic and development departments, lead to a more militarized foreign policy? Almost certainly.
With Canada and NATO continuing to sing the praises of whole-of-government and comprehensive approaches to intervention and nation-building, surely the conversation in Halifax should have been broader.
On the economic front, the discussion was tainted by a notable condescension towards the Occupy movement – condescension that betrayed detachment to the security concerns raised by the increasing disconnect between a rising popular concern about inequality, and the political and financial elite’s focus on debt-cutting and austerity. Surely, a security discussion should have shown more awareness of the potential for increasingly exacerbated social divides to lead to animosity and instability, both within countries and between them.
We need to recognize that controlled conversations, if they are not broadened to include critical, uncomfortable, and diverse views, risk perpetuating siloed solutions. The military is almost always more likely to advocate military solutions over development, humanitarian, and diplomatic ones – which is why the military doesn’t control foreign policy.
I am not suggesting that the Halifax forum should be cancelled. In fact, I personally found it stimulating and engaging. The format of the conference, based around interview-style plenaries, was perhaps the best I have ever seen, and the calibre of participants and speakers was exceptionally high. I was glad that Canada put on an event of this scale. But when discussing and debating war, in which the costs are so immensely high, we have to be incredibly careful not to fall into groupthink and the prescribed policies of self-reinforcing communities. Doing so invariably leads to the type of path dependency that we saw in the lead-up to the Iraq war and financial crisis.
Herein lies the value of the SDF program and the academic discourse it enabled: It fostered engagement and critical thinking in a space prone to secrecy and control. The direct benefit of this kind of discourse to policy-making is difficult to calculate, but it is nevertheless a benefit.
In the end, foreign and security policy is about balancing worldviews. The field of security studies, once the purview of the military, has moved on to include many more perspectives and actors. So, too, must the elite debate.
The Crisis of the State in the Digital Age
Anonymous. WikiLeaks. The Syrian Electronic Army. Edward Snowden. Bitcoin. The Arab Spring.
Digital communication technologies have thrust the calculus of global political power into a period of unprecedented complexity. In every aspect of international affairs, digitally enabled actors are changing the way the world works and disrupting the institutions that once held a monopoly on power. No area is immune: humanitarianism, war, diplomacy, finance, activism, or journalism. In each, the government departments, international organizations and corporations who for a century were in charge, are being challenged by a new breed of international actor. Online, networked and decentralized, these new actors are innovating, for both good and ill, in the austere world of foreign policy. They are representative of a wide range of 21st century global actors and a new form of 21st century power: disruptive power.
In Disruptive Power, Taylor Owen provides a sweeping look at the way that digital technologies are shaking up the workings of the institutions that have traditionally controlled international affairs. The nation state system and the subsequent multinational system were founded on and have long functioned through a concentration of power in the state. Owen looks at the tools that a wide range of new actors are using to increasingly control international affairs, and how their rise changes the way we understand and act in the world. He considers the bar for success in international digital action and the negative consequences of a radically decentralized international system. What new institutions will be needed to moderate the new power structures and ensure accountability? And how can governments and corporations act to promote positive behavior in a world of disruptive innovation? Owen takes on these questions and more in this probing and sober look at the frontier of international affairs, in a world enabled by information technology and increasingly led by disruptive innovators.
With cutting edge analysis of the fast-changing relationship between the declining state and increasingly powerful non-state actors, Disruptive Power is the essential road map for navigating a networked world.
“The 21st century state is using new technologies both to serve and protect citizens and also to control them. Citizens are using the same technologies to fight back. Taylor Owen’s analysis is the one you want to read on this battle and the way it will shape the 21st century.”
–Michael Ignatieff, Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice, Harvard Kennedy School
“Cyber technology has led to disruptive power in the form of hackers like Anonymous and crypto-currencies like Bitcoin. How should states respond? Taylor Owen offers a provocative analysis and recommendations.”
–Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard University, author of The Future of Power
“In Disruptive Power, Owen gives us a tour of the digital challenges to the nation-state, from newly flexible protest groups like Occupy and Anonymous to the rise of algorithms as weapons, often in the hands of non-state actors and often targeting civilian life. He weaves these observations into a forcefully argued thesis: the model of a world governed by stable nation-states is in crisis, forcing most state-led institutions into a choice between adaptation and collapse.”
–Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
“Taylor Owen gives us an incisive set of reflections on the ways in which the decentralized, collaborative, and resilient power of digital networks is undermining the state’s ability to govern. Even more disturbing is the resulting existential dilemma for democratic states: the best way to fight back is to become a surveillance state. Disruptive Power does not provide answers, but it poses important and unsettling questions.”
–Anne-Marie Slaughter, Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University, and Director of Policy Planning, U.S. State Department, 2009-2011
Media and Book Talks
The Violence of Algorithms, Foreign Affairs
Why the U.S. should but won’t partner with hactivists Anonymous, San Fransisco Chronicle
Why governments must embrace the new global digital reality, The Globe and Mail
The promise and peril of digital diplomacy, The Globe and Mail
More Data, More Problems: Surveillance and the Information Economy, Review in Foreign Affairs
Rescuing Democracy in the Age of the Internet, Review in Ethics and International Affairs
CIGI Signature Lecture, Disruptive Power: The Crisis of the State in the Digital Age
World Affairs Council, San Fransisco: From Bitcoin to WikiLeaks: Shaping the World in the Digital Age
Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, Plenary Session: Foreign policy in 140 Characters: How technology is redefining diplomacy
International Conference of Crisis Mappers: Historical Mapping and the US Bombardment of Cambodia
Highlights from a talk at USC Annenberg: Disruptive Power
Losing Control outlines how in a wide range of international areas of influence, the state is being challenged by new, digitally enabled actors. Grounded in the theory of disruption, this chapter explores the rise and power of the activist collective Anonymous, the paradox of dual use surveillance technologies, and the recent revelation on the extent of NSA surveillance. The chapter serves as an introduction to the book.
Disruptive Power traces the development of the modern state and drawing on disruption theory, explores how the introduction of digital technology presents a crisis to state power. The state began as a mechanism for centralizing and exercising power and over time became hierarchical, bureaucratic, and, in democratic states, accountable to the rule of law. In a networked world, however, groups like Anonymous wield power by being decentralized, collaborative, and resilient. These two models of power are fundamentally at odds and the resulting disruptive power threatens the institutions that have preserved the balance of power since the end of World War II.
Spaces of Dissent
Spaces of Dissent explores the rapidly evolving space of digital activism, or hacktivism, through the example of a group of hackers called Telecomix, who served as a form of tech support for the Arab Spring. Such cyber activists have taken on a role of social and cultural provocateurs; they are dissenting actors in a culture that is increasingly hostile to protest. What’s more, they see, observe, and quickly react in ways that boggle the state and corporations – all of this instrumentalized by digital technology. This argument is grounded in an exploration of hactivism as a form of civil disobedience, though one that looks markedly different, and is potential more powerful, than the placards and megaphones of old. The chapter details how the state has responded to the perceived threat of online civil disobedience through its prosecutions against Chelsea Manning and Anonymous, and argues that their excessiveness stems form a paranoia over losing control. Finally, it explores the costs to society when we eliminate social deviancy.
New Money details how the rise of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin represent a threat to the power the state derives from the control of currency. This chapter first outlines the history of the close connection between the control of currency and state power. It then details the rise of crypto-currencies, explain how they work, and their potential real-world benefits. Finally, it explores the potential challenge to state power posed by this decentralized and technologically enabled currency. I argue that if the use of Bitcoin were to proliferate, as it likely will, then the inability of the state to either collect revenue from, or regulate commercial activity, poses a threat to the control it currently holds over the international financial system.
Being There considers the evolution of international reporting news by juxtaposing the death of seasoned war corresponded Marie Colvin during the bombing of Homs, Syria with the new digital tools Syrian citizens used to document and stream the war to the world in real time. In an age of live-streaming, citizen journalism, drone journalism and coming advances in virtual reality, do we even need foreign correspondents? What’s more, do these technological advances result in new forms of knowing and understanding international events, do they shift how we understand the traditional power of the media and their capability to control information, and are they ultimately affecting how we see, and act in, the world?
Saving the Saviors
Saving the Saviors looks at the impact of collaborative mapping and advances in satellite technology on humanitarian and development agencies. The world of aid, humanitarianism and development have long been dominated by state-based agencies and large international organizations. For nearly a century, organizations like the World Food Program, The Red Cross, USAID and Oxfam have attempted to lead a transfer of expertise and resources from the developed world to the developing world. But new models are emerging. In the first week following the 2010 Haiti earthquake 14,000 citizens used their cell phones to upload emergency information to a live online crisis map. How do we know if the information uploaded to a crisis map is real? How do we hold these projects to account, without the oversight that states and institutions once provided? Using examples of disruptive humanitarian actors and recent academic work assessing their impact, this chapter explores how aid and humanitarianism are being transformed from the ground up.
Diplomacy Unbound explores the emerging practice of digital diplomacy. First, it outlines how we valued the efficacy and power of diplomacy before Twitter and Facebook and mesh networks by tracing the notion of diplomatic power. It then argues that we need to view digital diplomacy initiatives in two categories, those that simply expand the practice of public diplomacy into a new medium, and those that seek to fundamentally engage in the digital space, using the tools and capabilities outlined throughout this book. I argue that when the bounds of diplomacy are extended into influencing not just states, but also digital actors, then they overlap fundamentally with other foreign policy programs and objectives. And this invariably leads to conflicting methods and outcomes. The undue negative costs associated with coercive digital diplomacy demonstrate the weakness of the state in a major realm of its foreign policy. And if the state can’t be effectively diplomatic in the digital space, then what does this tell us about the contemporary relevance of diplomacy itself?
The Violence of Algorithms
The Violence of Algorithms looks at how advances in computational power and automation have produced military weapons and surveillance tools that blur the boundaries of the battlefield and the lines between domestic and international. While much of this book focuses on diminishing state power in the face of empowered actors, here I look at how the state is fighting back. What does it mean when the state extends the use of military technologies and tactics far beyond the battlefield? How should we view advances in automated warfare, and the power that these new technologies embed in complex and secretive algorithms? And for how long can we expect the state to have a monopoly on these news forms of pervasive violence? Put another way, where is the line between war and peacetime behaviour with the deployment of computation and surveillance based weaponry?
The Crisis of the State
The Crisis of the State outlines four challenges that together threaten the state’s traditional mechanisms of power and control, but that also might provide models for 20th century international institutions seeking to adapt— if they are structurally capable of transformation or meaningful reform. This crisis of the state has at least four key components: democratic legitimacy, reversing the surveillance state, algorithmic accountability, and internet governance. Solving any one of them, will not prove a panacea to this crisis, nor is this list exhaustive; there are many more innovations being developed and important questions being addressed. But luckily in each, there are individuals and groups experimenting on new models and proposing potential solutions. This is the new landscape in which the state must constructively engage.
- I am the Beaverbrook Chair in Media, Ethics and Communications and Associate Professor in the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University.
- I was previously an Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia and the Research Director of Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia School of Journalism where I led a research program on digital technology and journalism.
- I am the author of Disruptive Power: The Crisis of the State in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2015) and the co-editor of The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink its Foreign Policies (University of Toronto Press, 2015, with Roland Paris) and Journalism After Snowden: The Future of the Free Press in the Surveillance State (Columbia University Press, 2016, with Emily Bell).
- I am currently writing a book with Emily Bell on Silicon Valley, journalism and democracy, which is in contract with Yale University Press and will be published in 2019.
- I am working on a range of projects on the ethics, civic impact and governance of emerging technologies. I c0-authored a report for the Public Policy Forum Democracy Divided: Countering Misinformation and Hate in the Digital Public Sphere. Recent opeds in the Global and Mail outline some of this work: Big Tech’s net loss, Ethics and governance are getting lost in the AI frenzy, ‘Fake news 2.0’: A threat to Canada’s democracy, Is Facebook a threat to democracy?, The era of Big Tech self-governance has come to an end; and, We can save democracy from destructive digital threats, and my Dalton Camp Lecture in Journalism details some of this work.
- I have recently published two reports on the state of journalism. The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley Re-engineered Journalism with Emily Bell, and Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Information Age, on which I was a research principal.
- I founded an international affairs media platform called OpenCanada.org. This site is an experiment in building a community at the intersection of research, journalism and public policy.
- I am working on a range of projects to do with the ethics and potential journalistic utility of virtual and augmented reality. This has included a report, Virtual Reality Journalism, and a VR documentary for Frontline PBS, Ebola Outbreak: A Virtual Journey, which won a 2016 Peabody-Facebook Future of Media Award and was nominated for a 2016 Emmy Award. This essay in the Columbia Journalism Review, Can Journalism be Virtual? explores some of the wider implications of the technology.
- I serve on the Board of Directors of the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and on the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
- I am a Fellow at the Public Policy Forum where I work on the state of journalism and media policy in Canada. I received the 2016 PPF Emerging Policy Leader award.
My PhD was on the concept of human security, exploring how mapping and spatially analyzing local vulnerability data can help us better understand the nature of extreme insecurity. My current personal research, however, now focuses on the intersection of digital media, technology and public policy.
I use this site as a contact point and as an aggregator of my academic work and broader writing.
A bit more officially:
Taylor Owen is the Beaverbrook Chair in Media, Ethics and Communications and Associate Professor in the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University. He was previously Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, and the Research Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University where he led a program studying the impact of digital technology on the practice of journalism, and has held research positions at Yale University, The London School of Economics and The International Peace Research Institute. His Doctorate is from the University of Oxford and he has been a Trudeau and Banting scholar, an Action Canada and Public Policy Forum Fellow, the 2016 Public Policy Forum Emerging Leader, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and on the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). He is the founder of the international affairs media platform OpenCanada.org, and he is the author, most recently, of Disruptive Power: The Crisis of the State in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2015) and the co-editor of The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink its Foreign Policies (University of Toronto Press, 2015, with Roland Paris), Journalism After Snowden: The Future of the Free Press in the Surveillance State (Columbia University Press, 2017, with Emily Bell) and The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley Re-enginnered Journalism (Tow Center 2017, with Emily Bell). His forthcoming book on Silicon Valley, journalism and democracy will be published by Yale University Press in early 2019. His work can be found at www.taylorowen.com and @taylor_owen.
Email: taylor (dot) owen (at) gmail (dot) com
Warning: I have been largely defeated by email flow, so please feel free to send reminders and nudges when needed.
Selected writing and media (more formal list below)
On technology and global affairs:
- Disruptive Power: The Crisis of the State in the Digital Age, Oxford University Press (Book) – download introduction
- The Violence of Algorithms, Foreign Affairs
- Quantum Leap, Foreign Affairs
- The Networked State and the End of 20th Century Diplomacy, Global Affairs
- Ethics and governance are getting lost in the AI frenzy, The Globe and Mail
- Don’t Underestimate the Implications of Quantum Technology, World Politics Review
- Towards a Whole of Government Digital Strategy, Policy Magazine
- Why governments must embrace the new global digital reality, The Globe and Mail
- The promise and peril of digital diplomacy, The Globe and Mail
- Bitcoin Is Dead — Long Live Bitcoin, Vice
- Drones don’t just kill. Their psychological effects are creating enemies, The Globe and Mail
- What can Governments Learn from Digital Disruptors? The Huffington Post and the World Economic Forum
- Coin Toss: Will blockchain undermine or buttress state power? Literary Review of Canada
- Why the U.S. should but won’t partner with hactivists Anonymous, San Fransisco Chronicle
On media and democracy:
- How Internet Monopolies Threaten Democracy (The 2017 Dalton Camp Lecture, broadcast on CBC Ideas)
- The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley Re-engineered Journalism with Emily Bell, Tow Center for Digital Journalism Report
- Fakenews and Democracy, Public Salon talk
- The era of Big Tech self-governance has come to an end, The Globe and Mail
- The new rules for the internet – and why deleting Facebook isn’t enough, The Globe and Mail
- Is Facebook a threat to democracy? The Globe and Mail
- ‘Fake news 2.0’: A threat to Canada’s democracy. The Globe and Mail
- How safe are Canada’s elections from fake news on Facebook? Interview on the CBC’s Current
- Ungoverned Spaces: #Fakenews, The Rise of Algorithms, and the Next Big Challenge for Democracy, GIGI Global Forum Lecture
- Can Journalism be Virtual? The Columbia Journalism Review
- Journalism After Snowden: The Future of the Free Press in the Surveillance State, Columbia University Press (Book) download introduction
- The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age, The Public Policy Forum
- It’s time to reform the CBC for the digital age, The Toronto Star
- Virtual Reality Journalism, a Report for the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism, Columbia University
- Ebola Outbreak: A Virtual Journey, a Virtual Reality journalism project which won a Peabody Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award.
- Global Media Power, The Sage Handbook of Digital Journalism Handbook
- The New Global Journalism: Foreign Correspondence in Transition. Tow Center for Digital Journalism Report.
- Missing the Link: How the Internet is Saving Journalism
On Canadian politics and foreign policy:
- The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink its Foreign Policies, edited with Roland Paris, UofT Press (Book)
- A Transforming World, introduction to The World Won’t Wait, Roland Paris and Taylor Owen
- Between Metaphor and Strategy: Canada’s Integrated Approach to Peacebuilding in Afghanistan, International Journal
- Progressivism’s End, In Obama, both Americans and Canadians can see the promise of something new, The Literary Review of Canada.
- A World Turned Upside Down: To face an age of climate change, Twitter and counterinsurgency, Canada’s foreign policy establishment needs fresh ideas. The Literary Review of Canada
- 3D Vision: Can Canada reconcile its defence, diplomacy, and development objectives in Afghanistan? The Walrus Magazine.
- Let a commission, not broadcasters, call the shots, Globe and Mail.
On the bombing of Cambodia:
- Bombs Over Cambodia, The Walrus Magazine
- Historical Mapping and the US Bombardment of Cambodia, Ignite Presentation
- Roots of U.S. Troubles in Afghanistan: Civilian Bombing Casualties and the Cambodian Precedent, Asia Pacific Journal
- Sideshow? A Spatio-Historical Analysis of the US Bombardment of Cambodia, 1965-1973
On Human Security:
- Human Security – Conflict, Critique and Consensus: Colloquium Remarks and a Proposal for a Threshold-Based Definition, Security Dialogue
- Editors Introduction: Human Security. Four Volume Sage Major Work (Book)
- Human Security: A Contested Concept, The Routledge Handbook of New Security Studies (Book)
- The Second Generation of Human Security: Lessons from the UN and EU Experience, International Affairs
- The Critique That Doesn’t Bite: A Response to David Chandler’sHuman Security: The Dog That Didn’t Bark’, Security Dialogue
- Challenges and Opportunities for Defining and Measuring Human Security, Disarmament Forum
- Why Human Security, The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
- Measuring Human Security: Methodological Challenges and the Importance of Geographically Referenced Determinants, in Environmental Change and Human Security
On the future of think tanks:
- Better Think Tanks, Better Foreign Policy, OpenCanada.org
- With think tanks on the ropes, Canada is losing its bark and bite, Globe and Mail
- Decline in Canadian think tanks couldn’t come at worse time, Toronto Star
Books and Manuscripts
- Disruptive Power: The Crisis of the State in the Digital Era. March 2015, Oxford University Press, New York (About, Amazon)
- The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink its Foreign Policies, Forthcoming December 2015, (ed., with Roland Paris), University of Toronto Press, Toronto (Amazon)
- Journalism After Snowden, Columbia University Press (ed with Emily Bell and Jennifer Henrichson), February 2017. (CUP)
- The New Global Journalism: Foreign Correspondence in Transition. Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University, 2014 (ed with Ann Cooper) pdf
- Human Security. Sage Major Work, Four-Volume Set. London, UK. 2013. Link
- The Handbook of Human Security, Routledge Press, 2013 (ed., with Mary Martin) Link
- Operationalizing Human Security: From Local Vulnerability to International Policy, DPhil Thesis, The University of Oxford, July 2010.
Peer Reviewed Academic
- Belair-Gagnon, Valerie, Taylor Owen and Avery E. Holton. “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Journalistic Disruption: Perspectives of Early Professional Adopters.” Digital Journalism, vol. 5, no. 10, 2017, pp. 1-14, https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2017.1279019.
- Owen, Taylor. “The Networked State and the End of 20th Century Diplomacy.” Global Affairs, vol. 2, no. 3, 2016, pp. 301-307, https://doi.org/10.1080/23340460.2016.1239375.
- Burgess, J Peter, Taylor Owen and Uttam Kumar Sinha. “Human Securitization of Water? A Case Study of the Indus Water Basin.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs, vol. 29, no. 2, 2013, pp. 382-407, https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2013.799739.
- Martin, Mary, and Taylor Owen. “The Second Generation of Human Security: Lessons from the UN and EU Experience.” International Affairs, vol. 86, no. 1, 2010, pp. 211-224, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2346.2010.00876.x.
- Travers, Patrick, and Taylor Owen. “Between Metaphor and Strategy: Canada’s Integrated Approach to Peacebuilding in Afghanistan.” International Journal, vol. 63, no. 3, 2008, pp. 685-702, https://doi.org/10.1177/002070200806300316.
- Owen, Taylor. “The Critique that Doesn’t Bite: A Response to David Chandler’s ‘Human Security: The Dog That Didn’t Bark’.” Security Dialogue, vol. 39, no. 4, 2008, pp. 445-453, https://doi.org/10.1177/0967010608094038.
- Benini, Aldo, Taylor Owen and Håvard Rue. “A Semi-Parametric Spatial Regression Approach to Post-War Human Security: Cambodia 2002-2004.” Asian Journal of Criminology, vol. 3, no 2, 2008, pp.139-158, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11417-008-9056-1.
- Liotta, P.H., and Taylor Owen. “Why Human Security?” Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, vol. 7, no. 1, 2006, pp. 37-54, http://taylorowen.com/Articles/Owen%20and%20Liotta%20-%20Why%20Human%20Security.pdf.
- Liotta, P.H., and Taylor Owen. “Sense and Symbolism: Europe Takes On Human Security.” Parameters, vol. 36, no. 3, 2006, pp. 85-102, http://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/pubs/parameters/articles/06autumn/liotta.pdf.
- Gleditsch, Nils Petter, et al. “Conflicts over Shared Rivers: Resource Wars or Fuzzy Boundaries?” Political Geography, vol. 25. no. 4, 2006, pp. 361-382, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2006.02.004.
- Owen, Taylor. “A Response to Edward Newman: Conspicuously Absent? Why the Secretary-General Used Human Security in All but Name.” St Antony’s International Review, vol. 1, no. 2, 2005, pp. 37–42, http://www.jstor.org/stable/26227009.
- Owen, Taylor, and Olav Slaymaker. “Toward modeling regionally specific human security using GIS: case study Cambodia.” AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, vol. 34, no.6, 2005, pp. 445-449, https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-34.6.445.
- Owen, Taylor. “Human Security – Conflict, Critique and Consensus: Colloquium Remarks and a Proposal for a Threshold-Based Definition.” Security Dialogue, vol. 35, no. 3, 2004. Pp. 373-387, https://doi.org/10.1177/0967010604047555.
- Owen, Taylor. “Human Security: A New View of Cambodian Vulnerability.” Cambodia Development Review, vol. 7, no. 2, 2003, pp. 9-16, https://www.cdri.org.kh/publication-page-old/pub/cdr/2003/cdr03-2.pdf.
- Kiernan, Ben and Taylor Owen. “Iraq, Another Vietnam? Consider Cambodia.” The United States, Southeast Asia, and Historical Memory, edited by Mark Pavlick. Common Courage Press, Forthcoming, July 2018.
- Owen, Taylor. “Global Media Power.” The Sage Handbook of Digital Journalism, edited by Tamara Witschge, C.W. Anderson, David Domingo and Alfred Hermida, London, Sage Publications, 2016, pp. 25-35.
- Bell, Emily, Taylor Owen and Smitha Khorana. “Introduction.” Journalism After Snowden: The Future of the Free Press in the Surveillance State, edited by Emily Bell and Taylor Owen, with Smitha Khorana and Jennifer Henrichsen, Columbia University Press, 2016, pp. 1-18.
- Paris, Roland, and Taylor Owen. “Introduction: A Transforming World.” The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink Its International Policies, edited by Roland Paris and Taylor Owen, University of Toronto Press, 2016, pp. 3–19.
- Paris, Roland, and Taylor Owen, “Conclusion: Imagining a More Ambitious Canada.” The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink Its International Policies, edited by Roland Paris and Taylor Owen, University of Toronto Press, 2016, pp. 175–188.
- Martin, Mary, and Taylor Owen. “Introduction.” Routledge Handbook of Human Security, edited by Mary Martin and Taylor Owen, London, Routledge, 2014, pp. 1-15.
- Owen, Taylor. “Human Security Thresholds.” Routledge Handbook of Human Security, edited by Mary Martin and Taylor Owen, London; New York, Routledge, 2014, pp. 58-65.
- Owen, Taylor. “Human Security Mapping.” Routledge Handbook of Human Security, edited by Mary Martin and Taylor Owen, London; New York, Routledge, 2014, pp. 308-319.
- Martin, Mary, and Taylor Owen. “Conclusion.” Routledge Handbook of Human Security, edited by Mary Martin and Taylor Owen, London; New York, Routledge, 2014, pp. 331-335.
- Owen, Taylor. “Editor’s Introduction: Human Security.” Human Security, edited by Taylor Owen, London, Sage Publications, 2013, vol 1, pp. xxiii-xlix.
- Owen, Taylor, and Emily Paddon. “Whither Humanitarian Space? The Costs of Integrated Peacebuilding in Afghanistan.” Modern Warfare: Armed Groups, Private Militaries, Humanitarian Organizations, and the Law, edited by Benjamin Perrin, Vancouver, UBC Press, 2013, pp. 267-287.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “Missing the Link: How the Internet is Saving Journalism.” The New Journalism: Roles, Skills, and Critical Thinking, edited by Paul Benedetti, Timothy Currie, and Kim Kierans, Toronto, Edmund Montgomery Press, 2010.
- Owen, Taylor. “In All but Name: The Uncertain Future of Human Security in the UN.” Rethinking Human Security, edited by Moufida Goucha and John Crowley, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell Press, 2008, pp. 113-127.
- Owen, Taylor. “Critical Human Security: A Contested Concept.” The Routledge Handbook of New Security Studies, edited by J. Peter Burgess, Oxford, Routledge, 2010, pp. 39-50.
- Owen, Taylor. “Measuring Human Security: Methodological Challenges and the Importance of Geographically-Referenced Determinants.” Environmental Change and Human Security: Recognizing and Acting on Hazard Impacts, edited by Peter Liotta, Springer NATO Science Series, 2008, pp. 35-64.
Non-Peer Reviewed Journals
- Kiernan, Ben, and Taylor Owen. “Making More Enemies than We Kill? Calculating U.S. Bomb Tonnages Dropped on Laos and Cambodia, and Weighing Their Implications.” The Asia Pacific Journal, vol. 13, no. 16, no. 3, 2015, pp. 1-9.
- Owen, Taylor, and Ben Kiernan. “Roots of U.S. Troubles in Afghanistan: Civilian Bombing Casualties and the Cambodian Precedent.” The Asia Pacific Journal, vol. 8, issue 26, no. 4, 2010, https://apjjf.org/-Taylor-Owen/3380/article.html.
- Owen, Taylor, and Ben Kiernan. “Bombs over Cambodia: New Light on US Air War.” The Asia Pacific Journal, vol. 5, issue 5, 2007, https://apjjf.org/-Ben-Kiernan/2420/article.pdf.
- Burgess, Peter J., and Taylor Owen. “Editors’ Note.” Introduction to “Special Section: What is ‘Human Security’?” edited by Peter J. Owen and Taylor Owen, Security Dialogue, vol. 35, no. 3, 2004, pp. 345- 346, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0967010604047569.
- Owen, Taylor. “Challenges and Opportunities for Defining and Measuring Human Security.” Disarmament Forum, no. 3, 2004, pp. 15-24, https://www.peacepalacelibrary.nl/ebooks/files/UNIDIR_pdf-art2138.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor. “Measuring Human Security: Overcoming the Paradox,” Human Security Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 3, 2003, http://www.taylorowen.com/Articles/2003_Paradox.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor. “Body Count: Rationale and Methodologies for Measuring Human Security,” Human Security Bulletin, vol. 1, no. 3, 2002, http://www.taylorowen.com/Articles/2002_%20Body%20Count.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor, and Robert Gorwa. “Quantum Leap: China’s Satellite and the New Arms Race.” Foreign Affairs, 7 Sept. 2016, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-09-07/quantum-leap.
- Owen, Taylor. “Can Journalism Be Virtual?” Columbia Journalism Review, Fall/Winter 2016, https://www.cjr.org/the_feature/virtual_reality_facebook_second_life.php.
- Owen, Taylor. “Towards a Whole of Government Digital Strategy.” Policy Magazine, July/August 2016, pp. 6-8, http://www.policymagazine.ca/pdf/20/PolicyMagazineJulyAugust-2016-Owen.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor. “Coin Toss: Will Blockchain undermine or buttress state power?” The Literary Review of Canada, July 2016, http://reviewcanada.ca/magazine/2016/07/coin-toss/.
- Owen, Taylor. “The Violence of Algorithms: Why Big Data Is Only as Smart as Those Who Generate It.” Foreign Affairs, 25 May 2015, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-05-25/violence-algorithms.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “Liberal Baggage: The national party’s greatest burden may be its past success.” The Literary Review of Canada, May 2012, https://reviewcanada.ca/magazine/2012/05/liberal-baggage/.
- Owen, Taylor. “A World Turned Upside Down: To face an age of climate change, Twitter and counterinsurgency, Canada’s foreign policy establishment needs fresh ideas.” The Literary Review of Canada, December 2010, http://reviewcanada.ca/magazine/2010/12/a-world-turned-upside-down/.
- Eaves, David and Taylor Owen. “Progressivism’s End: In Obama, both Americans and Canadians can see the promise of something new.” The Literary Review of Canada, September 2008, http://reviewcanada.ca/magazine/2008/09/progressivisms-end/.
- Owen, Taylor, and Emily Paddon. “Rattle and Hum: Hello, Baghdad! A Kurdish singer rocks Iraq.” The Walrus Magazine, 21 Jan. 2009, https://thewalrus.ca/2009-01-music-2/.
- Owen, Taylor, and Patrick Travers. “3D Vision: Can Canada reconcile its defense, diplomacy and development objectives in Afghanistan?” The Walrus Magazine, 12 Jul. 2007, https://thewalrus.ca/2007-07-foreign-affairs/.
- Owen, Taylor. “One Step Closer to an Obama-Ignatieff Continent.” The Prospect Magazine, 10 Dec. 2008, https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/world/one-step-closer-to-an-obama-ignatieff-continent.
- Owen, Taylor, and Ben Kiernan. “Bombs Over Cambodia: New information reveals that Cambodia was bombed far more heavily than previously believed.” The Walrus Magazine, 12 Oct. 2006, https://thewalrus.ca/2006-10-history/.
- Bell, Emily and Taylor Owen, with Peter Brown, Codi Hauka and Nushin Rashidian. The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley Reengineered Journalism. The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University, 2017, http://towcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/The_Platform_Press_Tow_Report_2017.pdf.
- The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age. The Public Policy Forum, 2016, https://shatteredmirror.ca/wp-content/uploads/theShatteredMirror.pdf.
- Aronson-Rath, Raney, Milward, James, Owen, Taylor and Fergus Pitt. Virtual Reality Journalism. The Tow Centre for Digital Journalism, Columbia University, 2015, https://towcenter.gitbooks.io/virtual-reality-journalism/content/.
- Cooper, Ann and Taylor Owen, editors. The New Global Journalism: Foreign Correspondence in Transition, The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University, 2014, http://towcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/The-New-Global-Journalism-1.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor. Media, Technology and Intelligence. The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), 2013.
- Owen, Taylor. Disruption: Foreign Policy in a Networked World. Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Position Paper, 2012, http://www.trudeaufoundation.ca/sites/default/files/canada_in_the_world–en.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor, and Alexandre Grigsby. In Transit: Gangs and Criminal Networks in Guyana. A Working Paper of the Small Arms Survey, Geneva, 2012, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/F-Working-papers/SAS-WP11-Guyana.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor, and Rudyard Griffiths. The People’s Debates: A Report on Canada’s Televised Election Debates. Aurea Foundation, 2011.
- Owen, Taylor, and Emily Paddon. The Challenges of Integrated Peacebuilding in Afghanistan. Report for the Canada Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, 2009.
- Owen, Taylor. The Uncertain Future of Human Security in the UN. UNESCO Working Paper, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2008, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2451.2008.00629.
- Travers, Patrick, and Taylor Owen. Peacebuilding While Peacemaking: The Merits of a 3D Approach in Afghanistan. UBC Centre for International Relations Security and Defense Forum Working Paper, no. 3, 2007, https://www.academia.edu/148897/Peacebuilding_While_Peacemaking_The_Merits_of_a_3D_Approach_in_Afghanistan.
- Jackson, Thomas, Marsh, Nicholas, Owen, Taylor and Anne Thurin. Who Takes the Bullet? The Impact of Small Arms Violence. Norwegian Church Aid, 2005, https://www.kirkensnodhjelp.no/contentassets/c1403acd5da84d39a120090004899173/2005/who-takes-the-bullet.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor, and Aldo Benini. Human Security in Cambodia: A Statistical Analysis of Large-Sample Sub-National Vulnerability Data. The Centre for the Study of Civil War at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, 2004, https://www.gichd.org/fileadmin/GICHD-resources/rec-documents/CambodiaOwenBeniniSummaryWithMap040419.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor, Kathryn Furlong, and Nils Petter Gleditsch. Codebook for the shared river basin GIS and database. The Centre for the Study of Civil War at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, 2004, https://files.prio.org/files/projects/Codebook%20for%20The%20Shared%20River%20Basin%20GIS%20and%20Database.pdf.
- Owen, Taylor. “Data governance in the digital age: How Facebook disrupted democracy.” The Financial Post, 25 May 2018, http://business.financialpost.com/opinion/data-governance-in-the-digital-age-how-facebook-disrupted-democracy.
- Owen, Taylor. “The era of big tech self-governance has come to an end.” The Globe and Mail, 11 Apr. 2018, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-era-of-big-tech-self-governance-has-come-to-an-end/.
- Owen, Taylor, and Ben Scott. “The new rules for the internet – And why deleting Facebook isn’t enough.” The Globe and Mail, 2 Apr. 2018, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-new-rules-for-the-internet-and-why-you-shouldnt-delete-facebook/.
- Muggah, Robert, and Taylor Owen. “So, the liberal order is in freefall? Not so fast.” The Globe and Mail, 10 Jan. 2018, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/so-the-liberal-order-is-in-free-fall-not-so-fast/article37566760/.
- Owen, Taylor. “Is Facebook a threat to democracy?” The Globe and Mail, 19 Oct. 2017, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/is-facebook-a-threat-to-democracy/article36661905/.Greenspon, Edward and Taylor Owen. “’Fake news 2.0’: A threat to Canada’s democracy.” The Globe and Mail, 28 May 2017, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/fake-news-20-a-threat-to-canadas-democracy/article35138104/.
- Ananny, Mike, and Taylor Owen. “Ethics and governance are getting lost in the AI frenzy.” The Globe and Mail, 30 Mar. 2017, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/ethics-and-governance-are-getting-lost-in-the-ai-frenzy/article34504510/.
- Owen, Taylor, and Elizabeth Dubois. “It’s time to reform the CBC for the digital age.” The Toronto Star, 1 Feb. 2017, https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/02/01/its-time-to-reform-the-cbc-for-the-digital-age.html.
- Owen, Taylor. “What can governments learn from digital disruptors.” World Economic Forum, 6 Apr. 2016, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/04/what-can-governments-learn-from-digital-disruptors/.
- Owen, Taylor. “Why governments must embrace the new global digital reality.” The Globe and Mail, 10 Apr. 2015, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/columnists/why-governments-must-embrace-the-new-global-digital-reality/article23876924/.
- Owen, Taylor. “Why the U.S. should but won’t partner with hactivists Anonymous.” San Francisco Chronicle, 1 May 2015, https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Why-the-U-S-should-but-won-t-partner-with-6235020.php.
- Owen, Taylor. “The promise and peril of digital diplomacy.” The Globe and Mail, 9 Jan. 2015., https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/the-promise-and-peril-of-digital-diplomacy/article22375462/.
- Owen, Taylor. “Bitcoin is dead— Long live bitcoin.” Vice News, 23 Mar. 2014, https://news.vice.com/article/bitcoin-is-dead-long-live-bitcoin.
- Muggah, Robert, and Taylor Owen. “Decline in Canadian think tanks couldn’t come at a worse time.” The Toronto Star, 9 Oct. 2013, https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/10/09/decline_in_canadian_think_tanks_couldnt_come_at_worse_time.html.
- Owen, Taylor. “Drones don’t just kill. Their psychological effects are creating enemies.” The Globe and Mail, 13 Mar. 2013, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/drones-dont-just-kill-their-psychological-effects-are-creating-enemies/article9707992/.
- Muggah, Robert, and Taylor Owen. “With think tanks on the ropes, Canada is losing its bark and bite.” The Globe and Mail, 10 Oct. 2013, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/with-think-tanks-on-the-ropes-canada-is-losing-its-bark-and-bite/article14795496/.
- Griffiths, Rudyard, and Taylor Owen. “Let a commission, not broadcasters, call the shots.” The Globe and Mail, 1 Apr. 2011, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/let-a-commission-not-broadcasters-call-the-shots/article574867/.
- Owen, Taylor. “Afghan army: If you build it, who will come?” The Globe and Mail, 6 Sept. 2011, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/afghan-army-if-you-build-it-who-will-come/article627066/.
- Owen, Taylor. “Why Wikileaks will lead to more secrecy, not less.” Maclean’s Magazine, 29 Nov. 2010, https://www.macleans.ca/general/why-wikileaks-will-lead-to-more-secrecy-not-less/.
- Owen, Taylor. “Review: The Canadian Century: Moving out of America’s shadow, by Brian Lee Crowley.” The Globe and Mail, 10 Aug. 2010, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/review-the-canadian-century-moving-out-of-americas-shadow-by-brian-lee-crowley/article4324559/.
- Owen, Taylor. “Five reasons British coalition is not a harbinger for Canada.” The Globe and Mail, 14 May 2010, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/five-reasons-british-coalition-is-not-a-harbinger-for-canada/article4319053/.
- Griffiths, Rudyard, and Taylor Owen. “Learning from Britain’s three great debates.” The National Post, 1 May 2010, http://nationalpost.com/opinion/rudyard-griffiths-and-taylor-owen-learning-from-britains-three-great-debates.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “How about real Liberal renewal?” The Toronto Star, 20 Nov. 2008, https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2008/11/20/how_about_real_liberal_renewal.html.
- Travers, Patrick, and Taylor Owen. “2011 is a date, not a goal.” The Toronto Star, 5 Apr. 2008, https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2008/04/05/2011_is_a_date_not_a_goal.html.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “Failed strategy connects Afghan fields, city streets.” The Toronto Star, 7 Dec. 2007, https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2007/12/07/failed_strategy_connects_afghan_fields_city_streets.html.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “Kandahar deal breakers: The Afghan poll is not a blank cheque.” The Globe and Mail, 2 Nov. 2007, https://eaves.ca/2007/11/02/kandahar-deal-breakers-op-ed-in-globe-and-mail/.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “Africa is not a Liberal idea.” Embassy Magazine, October 3, 2007.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “Iraq suddenly appears on Canada’s radar screen.” Toronto Star, 29 Aug. 2007, https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/2007/08/29/iraq_suddenly_appears_on_canadas_radar_screen.html.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “Blogosphere at age 10 is improving journalism.” The Toronto Star, 30 Jul. 2007, https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2007/07/30/blogosphere_at_age_10_is_improving_journalism.html.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “Getting back on track in Afghanistan.” The Toronto Star, 23 Feb. 2007, https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2007/02/23/getting_back_on_track.html.
- Eaves, David, and Taylor Owen. “Beyond Vimy Ridge: Canada’s other foreign-policy pillar.” The Globe and Mail, 18 Apr. 2007, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/beyond-vimy-ridge-canadas-other-foreign-policy-pillar/article1073930/.