Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Securing our Future in Cyberspace

Greetings from the Australian National University where a research symposium on "Towards a political ecology of cyberspace" is taking place as part of the conference "Securing our Future in Cyberspace". There is a public forum on "Quantum sovereignty: the Westphalian principle and the global governance of cyberspace" tomorrow, "Taming cyberspace: applying international law in a new domain" Wednesday,  "The role of cybersecurity in Chinese foreign policy" Thursday and "Securing our future in cyberspace - next steps" on Friday.
The event has not started well, with the first speaker asking "What is Cyberspace?" and answering their own question with "Well it is really big.". This sounds like a line from the 1995 Steven Seagal  film "Under Siege 2: Dark Territory": a US DoD technician searching for a orbital weapons platform says something like "It called 'space' because it is really big". ;-)

The first presentation on the ontology of cyberspace. The second presentation was on the ethics of cyberwarfare. An interesting aspect is the interaction of IT and military ethics. Perhaps the most insightful comment of the morning was describing cyber-warfare as "a game of rock, paper scissors".

The last session I attended was on Balkanization of the internet". This seemed to have missed the point that "The Internet" (with a capital "I") is an internet (small "i"): that is a network of networks. So the term "Balkanization of the Internet" is a tautology: the Internet is, by design balkanized and this is one of its strengths. The network of networks provides for security and Resistance of the Intent. Balkanization is not an emergent property of the Internet, it is an important part of the design.

The "Towards a political ecology of cyberspace" research symposium was disappointing. It presented some introductory material which would be suitable for a first year introduction lecture. Some of the material was technically incorrect. The work presented was of practical minimal pratical value and not high quality academic research.

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