Toward a Human-Centric Approach to Cybersecurity

| December 2018
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Abstract: A “national security–centric” approach currently dominates cybersecurity policies and practices. Derived from a realist theory of world politics in which states compete with each other for survival and relative advantage, the principal cybersecurity threats are conceived as those affecting sovereign states, such as damage to critical infrastructure within their territorial jurisdictions. As part of a roundtable on “Competing Visions for Cyberspace,” this essay presents an alternative approach to cybersecurity that is derived from the tradition of “human security.” Rather than prioritizing territorial sovereignty, this approach prioritizes the individual, and views networks as part of the essential foundation for the modern exercise of human rights, such as access to information, freedom of thought, and freedom of association. The foundational elements of a human-centric approach to cybersecurity are outlined and contrasted with the prevailing trends around national security–centric practices. A human-centric approach strives for indivisible network security on a planetary scale for the widest possible scope of human experience, and seeks to ensure that such principles are vigorously monitored and defended by multiple and overlapping forms of independent oversight and review.

Keywords: cybersecurity, human rights, human security, civil society, privacy, Internet governance

The full roundtable essay is available to subscribers only. Click here for access.

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Category: Issue 32.4, Roundtable: Competing Visions for Cyberspace

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