Cyberspaces and Global Affairs

‘This excellent anthology stands apart from many other assessments of the relationship between information technology and society. Contributors offer uncommon insights about theory and policy, lucid prose styles, awareness of pertinent literature, and appropriate skepticism toward received wisdom. Chapters devoted to IT and its impact on military thinking and organization are especially pertinent to modern policy making dilemmas. The book is highly recommended for expert and lay readers interested in the nexus between public policy and information technology.’   Stephen J. Cimbala, Penn State University, Brandywine, USA

Cyberspaces and Global Affairs is edited by Sean S. Costigan and Jake Perry. The essays and topical cases in the book explore such issues as networks and networked thinking, information ownership, censorship, neutrality, cyberwars, humanitarian needs, terrorism, privacy and rebellion, giving a comprehensive overview of the core issues in the field, complemented by real world examples.

From the editors’ preface:

“It seems to go without saying that information technologies are changing the ways in which states, institutions and people interact. Whether it is the WikiLeaks release of classified U.S. diplomatic cables or Twitter breaking news of humanitarian crises, mobile phones employed to alleviate suffering, Wikipedia’s goal of democratizing knowledge, Google’s audacious attempt to organize the world’s information or a state’s creation of malware, parallels are everywhere.

Dispelling the hype surrounding information technologies while also challenging dystopian points of view, this collection of studies and viewpoints examines information and communications technologies and international affairs, moving across the spheres of the private, state and global.

Attempting to give a comprehensive view in this fast-changing field is in itself an audacious act. Indeed, in this effort we were reminded of the humbling comment from Friedrich Nietzsche from his “On the Future of Our Educational Institutions,” “in order that a future possibly very remote generation may come face to face with that towards which we are blindly and instinctively groping.” So, to help us and future generations come face-to-face with the wild world of information technology and international affairs—as it currently stands—we sought to explore such issues as networks and networked thinking, social networks and state power, military modernization, information ownership, digital divides, censorship, neutrality, cyberwars, humanitarian needs, terrorism, privacy and rebellion.

As such, the authors in this volume address critical questions of our time, many of which are not yet considered in traditional international relations programs. New scholars will surely surmount present day orthodoxies and this book should help in particular by examining such questions as: what, if anything, is the value of information for states and societies? What differences exist in local and state behavior and policies worldwide and why? How have social networks affected state behavior? How do different types of governments respond to information flows and in what ways have information technologies changed the loci of power? Who owns and regulates information? What constitutes a state’s information technology policy? How have information technologies changed national and international security, privacy and free speech? And in what ways are security, the state and information technology intertwined?”

Contents: Foreword, Kenneth H. Keller; Preface; Part I: Cyberwar: a real and growing threat, Nat Katin-Borland; From an analog past to a digital future: information and communication technology in conflict management, Daniel Wehrenfennig; Marching across the cyber frontier: explaining the global diffusion of network-centric warfare, Tim Junio; Viewpoint: cyberterrorism: cyber ‘Pearl Harbor’ is imminent, Emily Molfino; Viewpoint: protecting Google: is an attack against Google an attack against the US?, Nat Katin-Borland; Viewpoint: invisible threats, Jake Perry. Part II: Web 2.0 and public diplomacy, Hannes R. Richter; Call for power? Mobile phones as facilitators of political activism, Fabien Miard; ICT infrastructure in two Asian giants: a comparative analysis of China and India, Venkata Praveen Tanguturi and Fotios C. Harmantzis; Information (without) revolution? Ethnography and the study of new media-enabled change in the Middle East, Deborah L. Wheeler; The political history of the internet: a theoretical approach to the implications for US power, Madeline Carr; US identity, security, and governance of the internet, Ryan Kiggins; Information and communications technologies and power, Jeffrey A. Hart; Social media and Iran’s post-election crisis, Lida Khalili Gheidary; Viewpoint: combating censorship should be a foreign policy goal, Hannes Steen-Thornhammar; Viewpoint: an alternative prospect on cyber anarchy for policy-makers, Eddie Walsh. Part III: Digital divide: the reality of information haves and have-nots, Natalya Svenjensky; Using ICT research to assist policy-making and regulation: the case of Namibia, Christoph Stork and Tony Vetter; Leveraging information and communication technologies for global public health, Shriya Malhotra; Knowledge ecologies in international affairs: a new paradigm for dialog and collaboration, Sean S. Costigan and Chris Pallaris; Environmental politics: how information and communication technology have changed the debate, Erica Dingman; Viewpoint: privacy – there’s not enough and it’s shrinking fast, Hannes Steen-Thornhammar; Viewpoint: information overload: real and growing by the minute, Natalya Sverjensky; Viewpoint: PageRank and perceptions of quality, David Millman; Viewpoint: citizen change: how technology and new media have turned us all into digital freedom fighters, Anthony Lopez; Viewpoint: old and new media: picket fences till the end, Sujit Bhar; Postscript, Sean Costigan and Jake Perry; Index.

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