✏︎ A perspective on cyberwar for the BBC

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January 29th, 2014

Tara McKelvey from the BBC, whom I met as she joined us at the Drone Conference last October to moderate a panel on “Life Under Drones”, called me today with a question about cyber threats. Her great article, “Hackers, spies, threats and the US spies’ budget” is online here.

“Are cyber threats overblown?” is an common question: it is the one we are being forced to debate at each passing of budget or review of threats. The usual narrative goes: the US needs to protect itself against an “cyber Pearl Harbor”, or an “cyber 9/11”. A quick Google search will point you to a myriad of articles debating whether theses threats are a myth (one I really like here, from Henry Farrell), or a dire priority for us to address. I’m grateful to have been consulted on this point.

My work on cyberwar also operates in a slightly different dimension. Cyber threats are indeed real. Experts are right therefore to attempt to evaluate these threats with greater precision, and to budget the corresponding security spendings. However, I’m looking at cyberwar from a different angle: not primarily as a threat (may it be overblown or imminent) but as an ideological framework that is shaping both our institutional and legal reality, and our public debate.

 

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