Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Evaluating Islamic Environmental Initiatives in Indonesia

Greetings from the Department of Political & Social Change
at the Australian National University in Canberra, where PHD student Sofiah Jamil is speaking on "Necessity over Norms: Evaluating Islamic Environmental Initiatives in Indonesia". Sofiah has also produced a booklet "Faith and Nature: An Eco-Guide to Greening Faith Communities" with Farheen Mukri (2013) in the Singapore context. 

Sofiah pointed to work on linking Islam to environmental issues, but noted that much were focusing on human benefits from a better environment. An example of the latter is Dariah, Salleh and Shafiai (2016) looking at an Islamic approach to sustainable development.

It occurs to me that there would be parallels with Islamic Banking. An example is
Masukujjaman, Siwar, Mahmud and Alam's (2016) work on green and Islamic banking in Bangladesh. In 2008 I attended the Malaysian Corporate Governance Conference at the Securities Commission, Kuala Lumpur, the regulator for Islamic capital markets in Malaysia.

Also in 2012 I talked on "Sustainable Development Through Green ICT" at UIN Suska University of Riau, Pekanbaru, Indonesia.


Dariah, A. R., Salleh, M. S., & Shafiai, H. M. (2016). A New Approach for Sustainable Development Goals in Islamic Perspective. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 219, 159-166. Retrieved from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/H-12-2015-0085

Masukujjaman, M., Siwar, C., Mahmud, M. R., & Alam, S. S. (2016). Bankers’ perception of Green Banking: Learning from the experience of Islamic banks in Bangladesh. Retrieved from

Monday, July 18, 2016

High Speed Rail Needs High Speed Data

Consolidated Land and Rail Australia Pty Ltd (CLARA) have proposed building "new regional, compact, sustainable, smart-cities" on a new very high speed rail line from Sydney to Melbourne. The increase in value of the land, would be used to pay for the rail line. Previously I suggested looking at the use of high speed broadband data in reducing the cost and speeding the development of such a project:

Home owners will be reluctant to move to a new city, until it has a hospital, university, business center, entertainment, shops and transport system. Investors and government will be reluctant to provide these services until there is a population to use them. One way around this impasse is to use broadband to provide services quickly at low cost.

High quality, high speed broadband can be used to link the local facilities. The local doctor can consult capital city specialists, students can attend virtual classes and employees work in shared offices. All these services can be provided when the city is established, instead of having to wait years, or decades.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons

Dr Andrew Futter, University of Leicester,is  speaking on "Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons: New Questions for Command and Control, Security and Strategy" at the Australian National University in Canberra. Dr Futter argues that the Internet amplifies the risks with nuclear weapons. The scenario in the film "War Games" is more possible. He commented that the 2012 Glogal Zero US Nuclear Policy Commission Report raised more questions than it answered.
Dr Futter pointed out that nuclear weapons are inherently vulnerable, as they must be ready for use at any time, while also being under central control. One example was a training tape loaded into a US system which made the operators believe there was a real alert. Dr Futter commented that with a more on-line system it will be harder to detect such errors.

Dr Futter suggested that non-state actors were more likely to mount a cyber-attack to cause an un-commanded launch of a nuclear attack, a state actor was more likely to try to disable an opponents weapons. It seems to me that the risk with a state sponsored attack would be so high that this is unlikely to be attempted, expect by a "rogue" state. A more likely scenario is an attack on conventional command and control systems would disable nuclear weapons as a side-effect.

Dr Futter also included hacking of an Israel Defense Force Twitter account to spread false information about a nuclear accident. He also pointed out that an attack does not need to be on the weapons system: disabling the sewage system on a submarine will disable it as a weapon.

Dr Futter then discussed the different nature of cyber and nuclear weapons and the feasibility of responding to a cyber attack with a nuclear weapon. It occurs to me that cyber weapons are more like biological and chemical weapons: they are unpredictable in their effectiveness, may harm the attacker more than the attacked. On the one hand a cyber attack is deniable, on the other its source may be detected but then have little effect, resulting in a large political damage for no military value.

Dr Futter commented that he hoped Nuclear Weapons Officers did not freely discuss their jobs on-line. This got a laugh from the audience, but a search of Facebook for "Nuclear Weapons Officer" resulted in several hits and more than one hundred listed on LinkedIn.

Dr Futter recommended Ghost fleet : a novel of the next world war by P.W. Singer and August Cole, as a fictional but perhaps prescient view of the future, where the only military equipment working is pre-Internet-of-Things. Also one of the audience members, Adam Henschke, mentioned his book (edited with Fritz Allhoff) "Binary bullets : the ethics of cyberwarfare" (I ran the ANU IT students through a hypothetical on the ethics of cyberwarfare over the South China Sea last semester).

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Cyber Threats to Nuclear Weapons

Dr Andrew Futter, University of Leicester, will speak on "Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons: New Questions for Command and Control, Security and Strategy" at the Australian National University in Canberra, 3pm 11 July 2016. 
"The development and spread of cyber ‘weapons’, information-warfare capabilities and the new dynamics of the ‘cyber age’ are providing a considerable – albeit nuanced – challenge to the management, thinking and strategy that underpins nuclear weapons. Although, in the near future at least, cyber-attacks will not supersede nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantor of national security, the tools and capabilities associated with cyber present new problems that affect the nuclear weapons enterprise in numerous ways."
See also: