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[liberationtech] Is the Cyberwar beginning?

A.Cammozzo a.cammozzo at
Thu Jan 31 03:55:21 PST 2013

Hello Andreas,
thank you for your call for discussion.

Consider that cyberwar or netwar is "coming" since 1993 [1]...

But what kind of "war" are we expecting? What metaphor should we use to 
describe the increasing belligerency on the net?
Surely not a war fought by the military following a declaration 
according to formal protocols of the Hague Convention!

I think we could consider two different metaphors of the latent form of 
confrontation we are observing:

(1) the pirate-like war fought by the privateer, private person or 
company authorized by a government, making profit from prize money or 
Off metaphor, the "Data Privateer" has the freedom to take advantage 
from data gathered in commerce raiding or "guerre de course" activities, 
being under explicit or implicit government immunity.
Can we find clues or evidence for this kind of entities? Think for 
instance of government agencies spying on their own citizens, sometimes 
acting in grey zones un-encoded by laws, and their contractors.

(2) Cyberwar as a vector of Data Colonialism. Considering the Cyberspace 
a "territory" is a mistake, but following Luciano Floridi "Infosphere" 
[2] concept, it is the part of a wider environment. In this context the 
net is a sort of "space-like opportunity" where states do confront not 
in terms of sovereignty, but with their ability to access to all kind of 
data resources available, even if protected by other state's laws.
This "war" is part of the global political and economic effort to 
control data as raw material and sell data exploitation infrastructures.
To achieve this goal, states must show a twofold ability: to offend, 
stealing and destroying data and data infrastructures; and to defend, an 
essential element to maintain a tutelary power on their citizens (data 
protection) and a political and economic power on countries unable to 
autonomously develop the same abilities.

Of course these two metaphors do overlap some times.
This kind of collateral warfare has been going on for years.



[1] Arquilla, John, and David Ronfeldt. "Cyberwar is coming!." 
Comparative Strategy 12, no. 2 (1993): 141-165.
p.28: <<netwar represents a new entry on the spectrum of conflict that 
spans economic, political, and social as well as military forms of 
“war.” In contrast to economic wars that target the production and 
distribution of goods, and political wars that aim at the leadership and 
institutions of a government, netwars would be distinguished by their 
targeting of information and communications.>>

[2] Floridi, L., 2007. A Look into the Future Impact of ICT on Our 
Lives. The Information Society, 23(1), p.59-64.

On 01/31/2013 09:26 AM, Andreas Bader wrote:
> On 01-29-2013 the website got hacked.
> On 01-30-2013 there was a man in the middle attack on GitHub (?).
> On 01-27-2013 the Pentagon was boosting the "Cybersecurity Force".
> On 01-14-2013 "Red October" was exposed.
> And that were only the big incidents in this year. Things like that are
> accumulating. Are we slipping in the cyberwar experts are warning of
> since years?
> I just want to initiate a discussion. Your opinions?
> Sincerely,
> Andreas
> --
> Unsubscribe, change to digest, or change password at:

Alberto Cammozzo

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