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Digital Geneva Convention needed after ransomware attack, Is the Syrian regime worried about international justice?, Friendly approach won't dissuade Kim Jong-un, Facebook Live presents ethical concerns, The economic benefits of solar and wind energy

A roundup of global commentary for the May 29, 2017, weekly magazine.

Employees watch electronic boards to monitor possible ransomware cyberattacks at the Korea Internet and Security Agency in Seoul, South Korea, on May 15, 2017.
Yun Dong-jin/Yonhap/AP
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  • Monitor editors

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

Digital Geneva Convention needed after global ransomware attack 

"The cybersecurity wake-up call the world has long needed has occurred...," states an editorial. "The obvious lesson is that computer operating systems need to be kept updated with the latest security software and data regularly backed up.... But there is a wider issue, highlighted by the vulnerability having first been discovered by America’s National Security Agency, which kept its finding secret only until the hacking tool it had allegedly developed was itself stolen and leaked online.... Microsoft has been calling for governments to draft and implement a digital Geneva Convention to ensure that governments do not keep vulnerabilities to themselves for exploitation. In light of the attacks, it would seem that time has come." 

The Guardian / London

Is the Syrian regime more worried about international justice than it admits? 

"The [Bashar al-Assad] regime in Syria is not only responsible for the worst state-orchestrated mass killings so far this century, it now appears to be trying to cover up at least some of its tracks in the belief that this will one day help it evade accountability when the war is over...," states an editorial. "A US State Department official has reported that a crematorium has been built at the [Saydnaya] prison which could be used to dispose of the bodies of victims of the regime.... International justice investigators, if ever they went to Saydnaya, would struggle to establish the facts. Dispose of the remains, and no one will ever track you down – or so the regime hopes.... International justice may seem entirely impotent today on Syria, not least because of Russian and Chinese vetoes in the UN – but that doesn’t mean it will for ever be paralysed."

The News / Mexico City 

Friendly approach won't dissuade Kim Jong-un 

"The new South Korean president seems determined to ... once again mollify the north with outreached hands of aid and offers of economic and political cooperation...," writes Thérèse Margolis. "Granted, in a rational world, diplomatic and peaceful negotiations of conflicts are always a better option than military aggression. But Kim Jong-un is not a rational human being.... Sunshine and lollipops may distract Kim Jong-un from his nuclear playthings for a while, but they aren’t going to get him to disarm them nor will they transform a rogue North Korea into an upstanding member of the international community. Only a regime change can do that."

Maclean's / Toronto 

Facebook Live presents ethical concerns 

"Facebook Live has been used to live-stream murders, assaults, rapes, and suicides – largely because there is no built-in, real-time review and censoring process...," writes Daniel Munro. "A key ethical question, then, is whether Facebook Live generates harms that would not otherwise exist and whether the benefits, such as they are, outweigh these harms. Murder, assault, rape and suicide have always existed, but easier access to videos of these activities could normalize them and contribute to more.... [A] better option might be to press pause on Facebook Live and reintroduce it only after steps to minimize its harmful effects have been identified."

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

The economic benefits of solar and wind energy 

"[G]enerating energy by harnessing sun or wind would be the most economical form of energy for countries blessed with abundant such sources," states an editorial. "Lacking sufficient sources of fossil energy may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.... As energy costs drop gradually, sustainable development becomes a reality. The added bonus is the fact that all these projects open up much-needed job opportunities to many in the country.... Clean environment, fewer unemployed youth and cheaper sources of energy – the benefits are obvious and the direction should be pursued."