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The Politics of Cybersecurity: Balancing Different Roles of the State

This article by Myriam Dunn Cavelty and Florian J. Egloff investigates the role of the state in cybersecurity. It finds six different roles of the state in cybersecurity: (1) security guarantor, (2) legislator and regulator, (3) supporter and representative of the whole of society, (4) security partner, (5) knowledge generator and distributor, and (6) threat actor. In addition, the article shows that cybersecurity policy is diverse and necessarily includes state, economic, and societal actors.
What is cybersecurity? What seems like a simple question is at the heart of the political challenge this issue has become. Exemplified in the difficulties many state actors confess to have when it comes to agreeing on official definitions,1 cybersecurity is notoriously hard to pin down and is contested politically in both national and international arenas. In explaining the reasons for this contestation, we will advance a better understanding of what cybersecurity has become and will highlight the diverse roles of “the state” that have emerged. Read more


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