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Issue No. 019

Vol. 20 - December 2013
Cyber warfare
edited by Jürgen Altmann, Francesca Vidal

Cyber warfare - when we planned this issue already some time ago we thought of being once again on the leading edge of reflecting the implications of ICTs on global society and our modern life. And once again we have been surpassed by reality.

At first, if we look at the various physical war zones of today we can see more and more cyber weapons in place and in heavy use as well. Nearly every warring party blames the other of using means of hacking to conduct sabotage or espionage in the course of the physical acts of war. And yes, you can bomb the power plant of your opponent or ‘stuxnet’ it – and of course as the missile can be misguided the virus could also infect the IT infrastructure of a hospital instead. No, a cyber war is not a clean war by defini-tion. But then, what is the difference of killing a combatant with a gun or by a click?

Yet, much more attention has been drawn to the debate of cyber warfare where there is no physical war taking place at all. China and the US e.g. are not at war with each other (at least in the classical sense of having diplomatically declared it to be so or having crossed each other’s borders with armed forces wear-ing uniforms). But in the cyber sphere they do cross their virtual borders all the time and they do attack each other. Let us not be naïve: it is not that they just suspect or blame each other to do so (what they extensively do) – as a matter of fact they are if not yet at war at least testing their capabilities and con-tinuously increase them. Even if the scale is yet more comparable to shooting bullets across the border than to deploying heavy artillery but yes, we have entered this new dimension of the digital sphere now also in the area of warfare. And according to the rising budgets spent every year to improve the effective-ness as well as the camouflage of the respective techniques one can easily foresee their growing im-portance and also assume their probable social dominance one day.

And that leads to what finally makes the debate red-hot at the very moment: the threats of cyber war or even cyber armament for the civil society also in times and zones of alleged peace. In the name of de-fending against terrorism and counter espionage and being prepared for possible physical and cyber at-tacks the super powers have launched an unprecedented ICT infrastructure of mass surveillance and control and do not hesitate to use it also against friendly nations as the NSA scandal made publically clear. Our privacy is under attack by military forces at the very moment. And one could ask if this hap-pens for a greater good. But that only confirms that it happens.

So if cyber war has become a reality even if on a very small scale that one wouldn’t call a war yet and if the means of cyber warfare do not stop at concerning also the civil society what is more demanding than asking for ethical reflection of these developments. For the very interesting yet not calming answers please see for yourself in this issue - small in size but rich in content.

Sincerely yours,

the Editors.


Full Journal
pdf-fulltext (5.088 KB)

Ethics of cyber warfare
by Jürgen Altmann, Francesca Vidal
Language: English
pdf-fulltext (469 KB)

Cyber War: Will it define the Limits to IT Security?
by Ingo Ruhmann
Language: English
abstract:   Cyber warfare exploits the weaknesses in safety and security of IT systems and infrastructures for political and military purposes. Today, not only have various units in the military and secret services become known to engage in attacks on adversary’s IT systems, but even a number of cyber attacks conducted by these units have been identified. Most cyber warfare doctrines aim at a very broad range of potential adversaries, including civilians and allies, thus justifying the involvement of cyber warfare units in various IT security scenarios of non-military origin. Equating IT security with cyber warfare has serious consequences for the civil information society.
pdf-fulltext (96 KB)

Google Glass: On the implications of an advanced military command and control system for civil society
by Ute Bernhardt
Language: English
abstract:   In the early 1990ies, the U.S. Army presented the first experimental units of a future soldier’s equipment, featuring a soldier with a networked video camera, various sensors, and connecting the system to the world wide military command and control network. In June, 2012, Google unveiled its prototype Google Glass, a device capable of video and audio capturing with additional augmented reality functions.

In this article, a comparison between those military and civilian augmented reality systems and typical application settings will be used to ask for the implications of this kind of technology for the civil society. It will especially be focused on the consequences for civil safety, when the full range of cooperation capabilities available with Google Glass-like devices will be employed by organized groups of criminals or terrorists. In conclusion, it will be argued to assess the implications of this technology and prepare for a new degree of coordination in the activities of groups in the civilian space.
pdf-fulltext (132 KB)

Uma análise sobre a política de informação para a defesa militar do Brasil: algumas implicações éticas
by Bruno M. Nathansohn
Language: Portuguese
abstract:    Some ethical implications: It is presented the development of the information policy for the military defense of Brazil, taking into consideration information actions, which were implemented during the Brazilian history, and in the context of the regions where the country carries out geostrategic influence. The hypothesis is that there is a dilemma of the Brazilian state between cooperative international relations, based on a multilateral perspective, and the threats to its critical information infrastructure. Besides, technically there is a fragility of the cybernetics infrastructure because of the lack of an appropriate information policy, which could contribute to the position of Brazil in the international system of power, in accordance with its potentialities. Questions that imply ethics dilemmas about the threshold between the cooperative interchange, on the one hand, and the preservation of sovereignty, on the other, related with what should, or should not, be shared in the cyberspace.
pdf-fulltext (125 KB)

Creating a secure cyberspace – Securitization in Internet governance discourses and dispositives in Germany and Russia
by David Gorr, Wolf J. Schünemann
Language: English
abstract:   This article deals with the phenomenon of securitization in the emerging policy field of Internet governance. In essence, it presents a combination of theoretical reflections preparing the grounds for a comparative analysis of respective discourses and so-called dispositives as well as preliminary findings from such a comparative project. In the following sections we firstly present some theoretical reflections on the structural conditions of Internet regulation in general and the role and relevance of securitization in particular. Secondly, we shed light on how securitization is constructed and how it might affect the build-up process of instruments of Internet regulation. How does securitization happen, how does it work in different societies/states? Which discursive elements can be identified in elites’ discourses? And which politico-legal dispositives do emanate from discourse? In a third section we illustrate our reflections with some preliminary findings from a comparison of cybersecurity discourses and dispositives in Germany and Russia.
pdf-fulltext (142 KB)


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