How Russia and Ukraine are finding new ways to use tech in the war

<strong>How Russia and Ukraine are finding new ways to use tech in the war</strong>
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From facial recognition to Musk’s use of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, technology is being used in creative ways in the ongoing Ukraine war.

People and companies are using technology to help end the war and save Ukrainian victims.

Some big techs like Microsoft and Google have been indirectly involved in the war. While some target Moscow media, others fundraise campaigns for Ukraine.

In the meantime, here are five ways techs are being used in the war, which started on 24th February 2022:

Facial recognition tech

Ukraine is using potent technology and facial recognition to know dead Russian soldiers. 

The country was using the technique to identify the social media accounts of dead Russian soldiers, permitting authorities to contact their families and friends. 

The software is designed to dispel misinformation concerning the war in Ukraine and remove Russian claims that the war is just a special operation with few losses. 

The software called Clearview AI is reported to be provided by an American firm to Ukraine for free.

Blockchain

Blockchain has become more popular in Russia following several sanctions against Moscow.

Blockchain underpins NFTs and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Cryptos are decentralized payment systems that enable the transfer of value.

Since they’re encrypted and unsupervised by authoritative institutions like central banks, Cryptos are useful for evading sanctions in Russia.

Russia, as a crypto-savvy nation, is using blockchain and Crypto to evade sanctions. The country is third in Bitcoin network-mining activities globally, with state backing. Putin has now encouraged more surplus energy use for crypto mining.

Consequently, it’s no surprise that Moscow is using the Crypto strategy to dodge or undermine sanctions. The country is also using it to continue its Ukraine war.

In the meantime, the Ukraine government has raised $13 million in Cryptos after appealing for donations on social media platforms.

The government said that the funds would be utilized “to destroy as many Russian soldiers as possible.”

Also, Pussy Riot, a Russian punk band, has joined with Crypto groups UkraineDAO and Trippy Labs to auction the Ukrainian flag NFT and donate the proceeds to local charities.

The band revealed its intention on Twitter, “Our goal is to raise funds to donate to Ukrainian civilian organizations who help those suffering from the war that Putin started in Ukraine.” 

This initiative has already raised $3.5 million so far.

Musk Starlink satellite broadband

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite broadband is used to counter internet shutdowns in Ukraine. 

The invasion has disrupted Ukraine’s internet connectivity. Russia has also tried to control the spread of information at home by limiting access to social media apps, especially Twitter and Facebook.

However, to keep Ukrainians online, Elon Musk’s company, Starlink satellite broadband service, is activated in the country. SpaceX, the parent firm, is now sending more terminals to the nation.

For the Russians, the digital rights group Net Freedoms has released some steps to help Russians affected by the internet outage to talk with others and their loved ones while being informed about the war and the latest developments in the country.

The steps involve using light messaging services such as Signal, removing apps that generate internet traffic and disconnecting unneeded “smart” from the Wi-Fi network to make sure short connectivity spells aren’t wasted.

More so, the group, via its Telegram channel, has urged its followers to donate funds to an aid organization that represents Russians arrested for war protests.

Techs offering free accommodation and doctors

Airbnb, a home rental firm, said its non-profit arm Airbnb.org provides temporary and free housing for about 100,000 Ukraine refugees.

A Russian citizen also created Relocation.Ge, a site to help Ukrainians get shelter in Georgia.

The website helps to connect those fleeing with homeowners ready to accommodate them. There’s also a provision for doctors to offer free consultations and in-kind assistance.

Relocation.Ge founder, Stanislav Sabanov, said hundreds of refugees have reached out to the platform since the war began.

He said, “We all have one thing in common, we’re against war and want to help people who find themselves in a difficult situation.” 

More so, tens of thousands of people have signed up for groups on social media in Poland. Some of the groups are “Host a Sister” and “Ukraine, I’m helping you!”

The groups offer their money, homes, and carpools to Ukrainians looking for refuge in Poland.

In particular, a 700-member group called “Kejterski Patrol” in Poznan offered aid to Ukrainians fleeing with their dogs. The group provides temporary housing while helping to walk the animals.

Big tech inputs

Some big tech firms have been indirectly involved in the war while announcing measures in reaction to the invasion.

For instance, Reface, a Face-swap app, is sending push notifications concerning the invasion to its users, even to users in Russia. The app also watermarks videos using a Ukrainian flag to show support for Ukrainians.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has barred Moscow state media from running adverts or monetizing via its platform globally.

Google and Microsoft take similar actions. Microsoft disclosed it won’t display any state-sponsored Russian activities and Sputnik content and will de-rank Russia search results on Bing while removing any ads from Russian ad networks on the sites.

In the same vein, Google disabled some Google Maps tools that offer live information on traffic conditions in Russia.

Conclusively, it’s safe to say that technologies, Crypto, and big tech companies have offered creative ways to help Ukrainian war victims and assist in ending the conflict.

Photo by noah eleazar on Unsplash

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