Terrorism & Internet Governance: Core Issues

Both global governance and the sub-set of issues that may be termed ‘internet governance’ are vast and complex issue areas. The difficulties of trying to ‘legislate’ at the global level – efforts that must encompass the economic, cultural, developmental, legal, and political concerns of diverse states and other stakeholders – are further complicated by the technological conundrums encountered in cyberspace. The unleashing of the so-called ‘Global War on Terrorism’ (GWOT) complicates things yet further. Today, both sub-state and non-state actors are said to be harnessing – or preparing to harness – the power of the internet to harass and attack their foes. Clearly, international terrorism had already been a significant security issue prior to 11 September 2001 (hereafter ‘9/11’) and the emergence of the internet in the decade before. Together, however, the events of 9/11 and advancements in ICTs have added new dimensions to the problem. In newspapers and magazines, in film and on television, and in research and analysis, ‘cyber-terrorism’ has become a buzzword. Since the events of 9/11, the question on everybody’s lips appears to be ‘is cyber-terrorism next?’ It is generally agreed that the potential for a ‘digital 9/11’ in the near future is not great. This does not mean that IR scholars may continue to ignore the transformative powers of the internet.

Tags: Cyber Security, Cyberterrorism, Mass Media