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Paul Mobbs &
Mobbs' Environmental Investigations –

Work Archive –
Themes Index:

Cyberwar and
Pervasive Technology

I've worked primarily with community groups for many years – mostly in the UK, but also in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. The materials produced from that work have relevance not just to the people who commissioned them, but many other communities too. For that reason I maintain an on-line archive of my work.

For details of the licensing restrictions on using these resources, see the Copyright and Sharing page.

Work Archive:
'Themes' Index




Media Coverage









Ecological Limits













Video and Audio

The 'Cyberwarfare and Pervasive Technology' theme covers my long-term work around society, technology, surveillance and politics.

The 'developed' world is about to undergo a change greater than that in the 1980s as many jobs are automated, and it's prtedicted that even in the less developed world the opportunities for economic development will be significantly curtailed.

However, these same systems have the potential to perform mass surveillance, and to influence public opinion and the democratic process. At the same time these systems have a 'dual use' capability, and can be made into cyber-weapons, or may be subject to cyber-attack to inflict damage on a person, company or entire state.

This is a developing area of my work, and it is closely related to the issue of ecological limits as, contrary to the popular representation, these system consumer large quantities of energy and resource in order to be created and to operate.

The 'Cyberwarfare and Pervasive Technology' Theme

inc image USAF Croughton, Networked Warfare, and the Intelligence-Fusion Complex


In commerce, data is the new financial ‘gold’. On the back of the Web, on-line shopping and social media, data has become a resource for those trading in goods or public opinion. This same transformation has been underway in the military and intelligence services too. Here though, the use of data has serious political and cultural overtones – which imperil our civil liberties, and threaten to create an ever-more illiberal surveillance state where certain types of public dissent are labelled as ‘suspect’. In Britain, one site exemplifies this global shift in the focus of the military and intelligence services – USAF Croughton. Construction will begin soon on NATO’s Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre. Based on the ‘intelligence-fusion’ systems developed in the USA in the wake of 9/11, the JIAC brings the use of digital surveillance and wide-ranging data analytics to Europe. This development appears to be going ahead with – at least in public – the willing ignorance of the British government. There is no official recognition of the practices which are carried on at Croughton today, nor of those which the new JIAC development will enable in the future.

file icon Download Croughtonwatch report
1.4 megabytes

inc image Ramblinactivist 10/17: ''Keep Space for Peace', part 2 – USAF Croughton'


This video investigates not just USAF Croughton ('RAF' assumes a level of control that does not, in reality, exist), but also the evolution of the idea of "network-centric warfare" as it has developed at this site. USAF Croughton is about to undergo a large upgrade to extend its mission. The new 'Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre' (JIAC) will create an intelligence hub in Europe that will co-ordinate NATO (but predominately US) military and intelligence services across the new 'electronic battle space'. That means not just continuing its existing involvement in various activities which violate international law and the Laws of War; it will intensify the capacity of the US to project its power using technology across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The video concludes with a brief snippet from the 'Keep Space for Peace' week demonstration and rally at Croughton in October 2017.

file icon goto Ramblinactivist's video blog 10/17
watch the video on the 'ramblinactivist' Youtube channel

inc image Ramblinactivist 9/17: ''Keep Space for Peace', part 1 – NSA Menwith Hill'


A trip to NSA Menwith Hill, for the 'Keep Space for Peace' week gathering. It's possible to say many things about this site, and give a technical analysis of its capabilities, but what concerns me is something relatively simple. Who is accountable for the acts carried out within the perimeter fence? In this short film I take a look around the site, look at a little of its history, and document the marvellous Tuesday evening actions that take place here each week. The last third gives a brief digest of the presentations from the 'Keep Space for Peace' global event at Menwith.

file icon goto Ramblinactivist's video blog 9/17
watch the video on the 'ramblinactivist' Youtube channel

inc image USAF Croughton – Keep Space for Peace 2017


USAF Croughton is about to undergo one of the biggest redevelopments since it was constructed by the USAF almost 70 years ago. The new "Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex" will put the site at the heart of a web of military and intelligence networks stretching from the USA to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. However, given the nature of the operations this will involve, the question arises as to whether the development is lawful under International Law.

file icon goto 'USAF Croughton – Keep Space for Peace 2017'
Read about the video on the 'Croughtonwatch' site.
20.8 kilobytes

file icon 'Keep Space for Peace 2017' – WEBM video
Watch the WEBM video on the 'Croughtonwatch' site.
46.1 megabytes

file icon 'Keep Space for Peace 2017' – OGV video
Watch the OGV video on the 'Croughtonwatch' site.
46 megabytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Mobile Phones, WiFi and Cancer – Will Trump's budget cuts zap ground-breaking 'electrosmog' research?'


Amidst concern over President Trump's emasculation of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and cuts to the USA's climate research, other ground-breaking areas of environmental research are being ignored. For well-over a decade, at a cost of $25 million, a US National Toxicology Program study has been assessing the links between the use of mobile phones and rare, though increasing forms of cancer. Unfortunately, before the results of this study are published, it may be 'lost' in the coming cuts.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
110.6 kilobytes

inc image What is USAF Croughton and what does it do?


A podcast, produced for the 'Keep Space for Peace Week 2016', on USAF Croughton on the Northamptonshire-Oxfordshire border. The podcast described the history of Croughton, and the new developments taking place which will make it a key link on the USA's drone "kill chain".

file icon MP3 file format
3.7 megabytes

file icon Ogg file format
3.6 megabytes

inc image The USAF Croughton 'Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre' development


US military doctrine is changing. Today the political imperative behind military action is to minimize the risks to military personnel, while maximizing the ability to "project force" around the globe in support of the USA's political objectives. This shift in doctrine is also driving changes in how the the US operates its installations. At USAF Croughton, on the border of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, that means its historic role as a 'telephone exchange' for the US military, intelligence agencies and the State Department is being upgraded and extended.

file icon download poster presentation
9 megabytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'An activists' guide to the 'Snooper's Charter' – and what to do about it'


The so called "Snooper's Charter", the draft of which was introduced to Parliament by the Home Secretary on 4th November 2015, has created a media furore. It may appear to be threatening, anti-democratic and downright repressive, especially if you use technology as a de-skilled 'consumer' – without questioning how it works or what private information you exchange when using it. In practice, for those who have a working knowledge of communications technologies – certainly trained terrorists, organised criminals and fraudsters – many aspects of the draft bill are not threatening at all. If you use the technology in a certain way you can, to a certain extent, hide your on-line life from surveillance.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
129.5 kilobytes

inc image The Quiet Militarisation of West Wales' Skies

July 2014

As technology changes, so Britain's military policy has changed. For decades the military's presence in the hills of Wales was experienced through the fencing-off of large areas of land for military exercises, and the use of the region's local long winding valleys for pilot training. Now a new phase is about to begin, with the use of Wales' landscape to support the development and testing of 'unmanned aerial vehicles' (UAVs) – or "drones".

file icon download poster presentation
2.1 megabytes

inc image Phones, Drones and Self-driving Automobiles: Pervasive technology and the rise of the "surveillance state"

July 2014

"Phones, Drones and Self-driving Automobiles" is th e Free Range Network's latest workshop project. It examines not just how the Internet and our everyday communications are used as a mechanism for surveillance. It ties recent policy changes to both the changing military philosophy over "the war on terror", and how changing technology has enabled a smaller group of people to wield more power across society.

file icon download poster presentation
810.7 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'The Quiet Militarisation of West Wales' Skies'


In rural West Wales, the Ministry of Defence and its private sector partner QinetiQ are about to launch a new era in Britain's engagement with drone technology. Paul Mobbs outlines how the skies of West Wales are being forced into the debate on the legality and democratic accountability of drones and mass state surveillance.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
179.2 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'The coming military/industrial drone 'investment agenda''


It's noticeable – after following the tech & policy journals for almost two years now – that in the US the drones issue has shifted from being a "military/defence" agenda to an "industrial investment" agenda. That in turn is bringing with it a more aggressive posturing in policy circles due to the "benefits" (jobs, "growth", etc.) that it is perceived to bring.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
37.7 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'War machines, cyberwarfare and democracy – is resistance futile?'


I have to compose some ideas for a speech I'm giving tomorrow at the USAF Croughton peace rally. I could do it sat in front of a computer, but as I know all the relevant material I decide to do it on an evening walk instead. Climbing out of the valley through Banbury, on reaching the southern flank of Crouch Hill1 I see, glancing over my shoulder, the object of my solitary dialogue shining in the low-angle sunlight.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
140.5 kilobytes

inc image Drones, cyberwarfare and democracy

October 2013

The draft chapter for the book, 'World in Chains: The Impact of Nuclear Weapons and Militarisation from a UK Perspective'. The essay looks not simply at drones or surveillance, but the more critical technological framework within which these uses of technological capabilities take place. More importantly, if we look forward to the foreseeable changes in digital technologies over the next decade or two, we can see that these technologies will become more powerful, and able to be wielded against the interests of democracy and human rights by the most powerful states with the capability to develop them.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
1.3 megabytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Efficacy versus the Panopticon – the significance of psychology over dataveillance in the PRISM debate'


The great media panic during June is of course the PRISM scandal – the "not-news" that the world's intelligence agencies are spying on their publics, not just their enemies (not-news because I thought it was common knowledge, certainly since the disclosure of the ECHELON and Carnivore programmes over a decade ago). My problem with the PRISM debate to date (apart from the irrational, Hollywood-fuelled paranoia over surveillance) is that most commentators have been concentrating on the technology and its legal implications, rather than asking about the motivations behind these programmes.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
61.4 kilobytes

inc image Ecolonomics no.12: "Promulgating the Web's calorie controlled diet" – web design, environmental impact and the much ignored ecological efficiency of the Internet


I'm feeling pretty awful; for the last few days I've been laid low with a bug that just won't go away. As I sit, trying to find something to do, it occurs to me that I could catch-up on some of the really tedious, dead-head chores that I've been putting off for a while. If I feel so awful, how more awful can it be to do those things that I never feel like doing in any case? I begin by trying to write a long-overdue beginner's guide to the Linux command line interface – I get as far as designing a rather entertaining logo before realising this requires far too much brain power for my current state of mind! Then I remember the "design statement" for the Free Range Activism Web Site. That requires measuring lots of web pages to demonstrate, statistically, why the design system for the FRAW site is, ecologically, better than mainstream design methods. Hmmn, yeah, downloading lots of web pages, categorising their component parts and then spreadsheeting the results for later analysis. OK, as occupations go it's the digital equivalent of watching paint dry, but right now I feel that I can do that!

file icon HTML version
528.9 kilobytes

file icon PDF version
704.3 kilobytes

inc image The "Limits to Technology": The annotated workshop/presentation slides


"Limits to Technology" examines the role of resource depletion and the ecological limits to human society's future use of "technological systems" – a broad term covering not only our use of computers and mobile technologies, but also the electronics, metals and chemical components of everyday goods and products, and the latest "green technologies". Like the human system in general, our use of technology is subject to certain resource specific limits; by understanding these limits, and how they affect us all, we can address our minds to devising new ways to live our lives in an inevitably more resource-constrained future.

file icon annotated slides
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file icon presentation slides
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