D3.2 Model of cyberspace dynamics

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Number: Deliverable 3.2
Title: Model of cyberspace dynamics
Submission date: 31/10/2019


Following the document concerning actors in cyberspace, we have developed a novel analysis of how the activity in cyberspace can be interpreted. Beside the classical alarmist perceptions based on imaginations that everything can be done in cyberspace with specific knowledge, we are proposing a perspective that the power is not necessarily in the critical knowledge of selected hackers or group of hackers or state actors or anybody that is capable to deliver a cyber attack and that can be delimited as an actor in cyberspace but in a growing networked assemblage of actors. These assemblages are specific in its ungraspable shape because their existence is not institutionalized but flow through cyberspace as each actor does something else in different contexts, for example by creating new dark ecosystem of tools, instruments, knowledge, software utilities while having a common work in IT company. Roles and interests are flowing, people are meeting sometimes in different roles online but never establish traditional institutionalized social structures. The analysis we provide is not uncovering “a new truth” or denounce the current traditional perspective of cyber super powers, however, at the same time we do challenge the perceptions of possible cyber Pear Harbours or any other doom scenarios because they are the most reductionist perceptions we can imagine behind the possibilities of a completely new technology.

The technology that enables cyberspace is changing everyday, the habits of people using them as well, our dependence on various technologies lead our preferences of certain technologies but at the same time make us blind when we need to understand what technologies can be used against our way of life. However, the new power assemblages probably do not share the way of life governments prefer but is hard to say that what a government prefers is what a society prefers. This power of preference can change the way how we live simply because people will prefer technology that is not under control of a government. Is it good or bad? It definitely challenges the role of governments and the classical social contract between us – the society – and those we elect as it challenges the common principles of democratic legitimacy. People can openly decide to use cryptocurrencies that nobody governs or a cryptocurrency Libra that Facebook wishes to introduce, however, exactly Libra shook with traditional institutions because a mere preference can significantly lower their relevance and European Central Bank recently decided to act. Here, we would like to show that the introduction of a technology that is for some “a liberation technology” can be for the democratically elected entity “a dark technology” capable to topple down traditional institutions. Thus, the focus in cyber security discourse on what cyber attack can be conducted by unlimited amount of god-like capable hacker mises the point social science scholars should put emphasis on. The possible power shift is what should be discussed, not the capabilities to conduct a single cyber attack.

The whole document shows how various discourses between various epistemic communities develop various perceptions on cyber security. The final part opens new questions that we believe should be the basis for further policy of European Union.