united nations

The UN Will Debate The Ethics Of Killer Robots This Week

This week, the United Nations will debate the role of so-called “killer robots” on the battlefield — so called, because robots are currently killing humans on the battlefield, and the next steps in their robo-evolution will have serious consequences for the future of war.


UN: Ships Need To Shut Up So Whales And Dolphins Can Hear

The noises made by the gargantuan boats that move our stuff from one continent to another are ruining marine life. So, this week, new regulations have been issued by the International Maritime Organisation, the sea-faring agency of the United Nations, asking shipping companies to turn down the volume.


Even The UN Is Using Drones To Spy On People Now

The United Nations now has its own drone program. Its first unmanned aircraft took off earlier this week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Joining some 87 countries with the capability, the organisation says it’s just keeping up with the world’s technological advances.


The UN Is Building An Emergency Back-Up Tower Next To Its Headquarters

As the United Nations wrapped up its 68th General Assembly last week, a major piece of news nearly slipped under the radar: Designs for the UN Consolidation Tower, a 36-storey building that will flank the headquarters like an eager little brother, housing almost 3000 employees. But besides offering much-needed emergency overflow space, this new building could end up making the UN more secure as a whole.


The United Nations Gets A Revamp, Just In Time For The General Assembly

This week, as delegates descend on the United Nations for the 68th General Assembly, they just might be spending their free time in a brand-new lounge area. The renovation, officially opening on Wednesday, is an official gift from the Netherlands to the UN, so it’s only appropriate that it was masterminded by two of the most notable Dutch designers of the day — Rem Koolhaas and Hella Jongerius.


The NSA Has Even Listened In On Encrypted UN Communications

According to documents read by Der Spiegel, the NSA was able to bypass the United Nations’ videoconferencing system in summer 2012 and decrypted 446 internal communications in three weeks for a total of 458. Der Spiegel quoted the documents (translated from German) as saying that the hack had, “a dramatic improvement of the data from video teleconferencing and the ability to decrypt this traffic.”


More People Have Mobile Phones Than Toilets

It’s easier to put a phone in someone’s hand than it is to build a proper sanitation system. According to a UN report, six billion of the seven billion people in the world have mobile phones, while just 4.5 billion have access to a toilet or latrine.


US Predictably Refuses To Sign UN Internet Treaty

Over the past fortnight, the internet has been awash with debate over the future of the internet: the UN, so the stories went, was planning to change the governance of the internet for good. Predictably, the US has point-blank refused to play ball — along with its lapdogs of Canada and the UK — and that stops proceeding dead.


Calm Down: Nobody Is Taking Over The Internet

For the next two weeks, the International Telecommunication Union — a United Nations agency that was formed to regulate telegraph lines in the 19th century — will try to make new rules for the internet. This makes some people worried, but nobody should be. The entire conference is pointless.


US Warns Australia On North Korean Rocket

The US believes that North Korea’s plans to launch a satellite into orbit between April 12 and 16 is a veiled long-range missile test that would break a three week-old UN deal for food aid. The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday reported that a US envoy has delivered a warning to Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr. The plans see a North Korean rocket aimed towards South-East Asia and Australia for the first time.