(No.132) Power grab? Understanding the clash of security communities.

Go to Report
Workshop Theme: 
Security, Openness and Privacy
Theme Question: 

Question 1: What impact can security and governance issues have on the Internet and human rights?

Concise Description of Workshop: 


Power grab? Understanding the clash of security communities. 


Is the recent interest of national governments in internet security a mere grab for power or a necessary step to the dawn of a peaceful internet? 


Large scale internet security incidents such as the attacks on Estonia in 2007 or the Conficker botnet have been addressed by diverse, yet overlapping internet security communities. The ongoing functionality of the internet as an communications infrastructure was ensured almost exclusively by a network of loosely coupled technical experts. In recent counter-measures such as DNS change malware, the Zeus or the Kelihos botnet, civilian law enforcement has played an increasingly important role. 


While these cases can be classified as cybercrime, discourses on other internet-related security areas, such as cyber-terror or cyber-warfare, are characterised by a call for increased state involvement. Voices in the U.S. national security community are calling for national responsibilities, by which nations are to be held accountable for what the infrastructure based in their territory is used for. Likewise, the idea that internet security governance should follow the needs of a "global national security community" appears to gain popularity in national security policy circles. 


The global technical security community is driven by the idea of the internet as global commons that needs to protected by cooperative efforts and wide-spread sharing of even sensitive information. National security communities, on the other hand, essentially see the internet as a tool and as a place where conflicting governments collide and try to gain relative advantages by any means available. These two opposing stances of internet security require conflicting security policies. As an example: While technical security communities view zero-days and botnets as their technical arch-enemies that need to be wiped off the internet, cyberwar theorists might see a botnet as a tool to DDoS an adversary and 0-days as a prerequisite to hack into an opponent's critical infrastructure. 


This workshop aims at discussing the relationship between technical security as defined by the technical community and the rising interest of national security policy in cyber-security. What does the cyber-military interest in extensive situational awareness in cyberspace mean for the security of internet-based communication? Will the technical security community be transformed by national legislations, loose some of its old, egalitarian governance mechanisms and report to some governmental internet security authority? Could the nationalisation of Internet security and the securitization of the Internet essentially decrease global security cooperation? 


The workshop includes participants from multifarious geographical and stakeholder backgrounds with proven expertise on the workshop's topics. Completion of the panel's line-up in the weeks to come seeks to primarily increase geographical variety.


The workshop is designed to provide opportunities for audience participation. After brief introductions of penalists and workshop topic by the moderator, panelists will give their succinct statements on matters and questions previously described. The main part of the workshop is reserved for open discussions amongst the panelists and with present and remote audiences. 


The workshop is endorsed by the Internet Governance Project, the Citizen Lab of the University of Toronto and Delft University of Technology.

Organiser(s) Name: 

Andreas Schmidt, Delft University of Technology, Academia, WEOG

Previous Workshop(s): 


Submitted Workshop Panelists: 


Paul Vixie, Internet Systems Consortium, Technical Community, GRULAC, Confirmed 


Prof. Milton Mueller, Syracuse University, Civil Society, GRULAC, Confirmed 


Prof. Ron Deibert, University of Toronto, Academia, WEOG, Pending


Andrea Glorioso, European Commission, International Organisation/Government, WEOG, Pending


N.N., Civil Society/Technical Community, Asia Pacific, Planned

Name of Remote Moderator(s): 
Hadi Asghari, Delft University of Technology (confirmed)
Assigned Panellists: