About SeanLawson

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. I write about the relationships among science, technology, and security with an emphasis on new media, information, and communication technologies. Topics of interest include cybersecurity policy, surveillance, drones, network-centric warfare, and military use of social media. My doctorate is from the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I am the author of Nonlinear Science and Warfare: Chaos, Complexity, and the U.S. Military in the Information Age. Web | Twitter

With Drone Strike On ISIS Hacker U.S. Escalates Its Response To Cyber Attacks

On August 28, the United States admitted to carrying out an airstrike, widely reported to have come from a drone, which killed an ISIS hacker by the name of Junaid Hussain. He was killed in Syria four days earlier on August 24. This strike represents the latest escalation in the United States’ evolving response to […]

The Death of Cyber Doom? Not So Fast

For decades, we have heard a lot of talk from American officials, industry experts, and others about the supposed threat of a “cyber 9/11,” “cyber Pearl Harbor,” “cyber Katrina,” or even “cyber Sandy.” In short, we have been warned repeatedly that “cyber doom” is coming. Indeed, as recently as this fall, cyber doom was in […]

The Sony Hack, It’s Still Not War Or Terrorism

For more than a decade we have heard constant warnings about the coming of “cyber war” and “cyber terrorism.” The prophets of cyber doom have promised that cyber attacks are just around the corner that will be on par with natural disasters or the use of weapons of mass destruction. With every new report of […]

TGI Fridays’ Drone Mishap Was Not a Disaster, But It Could Have Been

In recent weeks, the American casual dining restaurant chain TGI Fridays has gotten a lot of buzz as a result of news that it would deploy a mistletoe drone in its restaurants. The idea was that the mistletoe-carrying drone would fly around the restaurant and hover above unsuspecting customers, thereby forcing them to kiss. All […]

The Drone Terrorism Case That Wasn’t

Fears related to drone safety, in particular concerns about so-called “near misses” with manned aircraft, have gotten a lot of attention in recent weeks. More detailed analysis, however, has shown those fears to have been greatly exaggerated. Nonetheless, they have resulted in one senator’s call for an expansion of the FAA’s drone ban to include […]

Drone Fear and the FAA Ban on Model Aircraft Near Stadiums

On October 27, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a new Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that bans the use of “unmanned aircraft and remote controlled aircraft” near stadiums. The move comes in the wake of a number of reports worldwide, including within the United States, of “drone” use at sporting events. Though these incidents […]