from Net Politics and Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

Your Summer Reading List Needs More Cyber

Beach reading. Flickr user Haceme un 14

Reading about the relevance of Thucydides to cyberspace makes for excellent beach reading.

Last updated July 19, 2017

Beach reading. Flickr user Haceme un 14
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Christopher Zheng is an intern with the Digital and Cyberspace Policy program.

Summer is a great time to catch up on that massive list of books and articles you have been meaning to read but never quite got around to. Fortunately, Net Politics is here to remind you which digital and cyber policy books published in the last year you should read first.

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Digital Policy

Cybersecurity

The Cybersecurity Dilemma: Hacking, Trust and Fear between Nations, by Ben Buchanan

About 2,400 years ago, Thucydides warned that rival states could erroneously interpret the other’s actions and that these misperceptions could lead to conflict. For example, State A's defensive action could be interpreted as hostile by State B, which would then takes its own defensive action, and those actions would in turn be interpreted by State A as threatening, creating a security dilemma. Buchanan applies the idea of the security dilemma to cyberspace, arguing that the nature of cyber intrusions, and the challenge of determining an intrusion's intent are particularly challenging in cyberspace. And although several principles from the traditional security dilemma overlap, Buchanan argues that the cybersecurity dilemma can in fact be more dangerous. For example, certain defensive actions in cyberspace can require breaking into someone’s network, creating further risks of conflict.

Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

Drawing on personal experiences in the heart of protests, Tufekci examines ways in which technology can both fuel political activism and hinder its long-term impact. She argues that although technology makes it easy for protesters to mobilize, mobilization alone does not create lasting social change given that the mobilized can quickly get disenchanted with the slow pace of change. Furthermore, Tufekci argues that protesters’ reliance on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook makes them reliant on the platforms’ algorithms and bottom lines, which are not necessarily aligned with the protesters’ interests.

American Spies: Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, and What to Do About It by Jennifer Stisa Granick

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Digital Policy

Cybersecurity

Granick writes a provocative and controversial expose of the U.S. intelligence community's surveillance authorities and tools in the post-9/11 era. Over the course of the last sixteen years, Granick argues that U.S. spies have failed to justify the need for wholesale collection of personal information. She supports her argument by examining cases like the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, where the wholesale collection of data about U.S. and foreign nationals failed to prevent it. The book is a timely critique of the United States’ intelligence authorities, some of which are up for renewal at the end of this year.

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