Governing through crisis. Conflict, crises and the politics of cyberspace | Online Conference | 9-11 November 2021
Register for free now

Jon Lindsay



Anarchy within Order: The Political Logic of Deception

Cybersecurity used to be described as a dangerous revolution in military affairs. Military framings, however, have always been an awkward fit for cyber conflict, which flourishes in the nether region between peace and war, and between state and society. Cyber conflict is better understood as new manifestation of classic patterns of espionage and subversion. Yet an intelligence framing raises new problems. The norms that constrain war may not constrain intelligence. Even worse, common institutions may encourage intelligence contests. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is disorienting. The field of international relations has traditionally focused on explaining the emergence of order within anarchy, but the prevalence of deception in cyberspace calls attention to the opposite problem: the exploitation of anarchy within order. Indeed, the information age is the age of deception.