It’s finally happening. After an abysmally long time of politicians, military, and the security industry coming up with streams of innovative policy tangle in the name of internet security or cybersecurity, a critical mass of social scientists and research interested practitioners has teamed up to start deepening our knowledge of internet security and its governance. While Hungary was having difficult times by floods and economic turmoils, Budapest couldn’t have been a more lovely and welcoming place in the last couple of days.
Two intense days of workshopping at the Central European University produced a stunningly long list of open questions and – as Rummy would have called – things that we now know we don’t know. Things decision makers however should know before jumping to conclusions in the delicate area of internet security, surveillance, filtering and what else. One of the well-connected participants with intimate knowledge about cybersecurity circles estimated that some 90 percent of knowledge about cybersecurity had been developed by brains sitting in the Pentagon or it’s contractors offices. For the sake of societal values such as openness and transparence, time is ripe to look at internet security from a decisively different angle.
It speaks volumes about the state of European internet research, that roughly half the number of the workshop participants were flown in over the Atlantic. Necessarily so, as the workshop organisers pointed out, given the lack of European social scientist studying internet security governance especially in Eastern European countries.
Anyhow, it’s going to be very interesting to see where this thing is heading to once, if at all, the European Science Foundation will pour some drops out of its funding buckets onto this promising undertaking.