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The politics of stability: cement and change in cyber affairs

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Abstract

Focusing on the interrelationship between international peace and stability, and ways of achieving both in the context of ICTs, we will offer a model of stability of cyberspace. We begin by examining the concepts of ‘stability’ and ‘strategic stability’ as understood with regard to international security. This conceptual analysis is followed a presentation of by the political claims of stability expressed in national and international cyber- and information-security discourses. Drawing on the conceptual approaches and the political claims, we then model the stability of cyberspace in three interlinked and reinforcing dimensions: 1) equal and inclusive international relations; 2) prevention of war: the minimal peace, with emphasis on averting a devastating nuclear war between the superpowers; and 3) the functionality of global and national technical systems and services. Defining stability in cyberspace only in the obvious terms of functionality – which we tend to detect – would be limited and politically utmost motivated. By that, we refer to sticking to a comfort zone where governmental responsibility to maintain global and regional stability will be side-lined. We by our three-layered approach warn of the de-stabilizing nature of both operations and oppressive practices some governments are willing to take. Finally, we conclude with recommendations for action aimed at helping to create and maintain a stable – resilient and adaptive – cyberspace.

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The international community is too often focused on responding to the latest cyber-attack instead of addressing the reality of pervasive and persistent cyber conflict. From ransomware against the city government of Baltimore to state-sponsored campaigns targeting electrical grids in Ukraine and the U.S., we seem to have relatively little bandwidth left over to ask what we can hope for in terms of 'peace' on the Internet, and how to get there. It's also important to identify the long-term implications for such pervasive cyber insecurity across the public and private sectors, and how they can be curtailed. This edited volume analyzes the history and evolution of cyber peace and reviews recent international efforts aimed at promoting it, providing recommendations for students, practitioners and policymakers seeking an understanding of the complexity of international law and international relations involved in cyber peace. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
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