Humanitarian Protection of People in a Technological Age: Drones and Social Media - to use or not to use

Paul White, Noosheen Mogadam


Technology and the digital space are transforming the nature of power in humanitarian settings on an extensive scale and at a fast pace.  Humanitarians are recognising that even sharper threats loom if emergent issues are not dealt with prudently.  Adapting to new technology without compromising the humanitarian principles is necessary.  A protection-centred approach to the use of drones in humanitarian operations is crying out for clarity. Protection issues linked to social media also need clarity, especially as new actors come into humanitarian space.  Over the course of three years in the north of Syria alone nine hundred local NGOs joined the aid response.  This paper considers some issues that arise at the intersection of humanitarian work and ongoing technological developments.  It touches on whether fundamental humanitarian and protection principles and practices are keeping pace with developments to ensure those in need of humanitarian assistance can be advantaged by new technology and still protected.

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