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9 - Predictive Technologies and Opaque Epistemology in Counterterrorism Decision-Making

from Part II - Connecting the Global and the Local in Fighting Terrorism: Applications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2021

Arianna Vedaschi
Affiliation:
Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Milan
Kim Lane Scheppele
Affiliation:
Princeton University, New Jersey
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Summary

Predictive technologies have become an inseparable part of counterterrorism decision-making. In the past decades, the United Nations Security Council has advanced and legitimized this reliance on predictive technologies, including the substandard levels of certainty and proof they entail, justifying opaque predictive epistemology in counter-terrorism decision-making both within and outside the SC sanction regime. Based on an interdisciplinary scholarship on law, science, and technology, as well as empirical observations from concrete battlefield operations, this chapter identifies three problems stemming from the reliance on predictive technologies in counter-terrorism decision-making. First, the outputs of predictive technologies - often perceived as objective, complete, and neutral - mask the subjective and speculative elements involved in their production. Second, the combination of predictive technologies and opaque epistemology embraces uncertainty as the baseline for knowledge, resulting in a transition from juridical to administrative decision-making process. Third, erroneous decisions often remain unaccounted for, as technology systems are being blamed for mistaken, technology-assisted, human decisions. The chapter develops concrete recommendations to mitigate these problems, and advises the SC to consider the effects of its legitimation of opaque evidentiary standards in the context of the sanctions regime, on the justification of these problematic norms in the context of counter-terrorism battlefield operations.

Type
Chapter
Information
9/11 and the Rise of Global Anti-Terrorism Law
How the UN Security Council Rules the World
, pp. 199 - 221
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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