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Security as a context, generative force, and policy concern for the co-production of cyberspace: historical overview since WWII until the end of the Cold War

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 14:05 authored by Noran Fouad
Many cybersecurity literature take the 1990s as a starting point to trace the process of securitising cyberspace; implicitly suggesting that it initially emerged as a non-security sector, which was then securitised. Although it is true that ‘cyberspace’ and ‘cybersecurity’ were novel terms at that period, their ontological status cannot be reduced to their mere utterances. If the security of cyberspace as a constructed metaphor signifies the security of computers and networks, with all their associated software, hardware, and data - technologies that have long historical roots - then an ahistorical approach to studying its evolution would be both insufficient and over-simplified. Therefore, this paper aims to prove that security has always been an integral part of the co-production of cyberspace: As a context in which it was developed, as a generative force behind many of its technologies, and as a policy concern in different phases of its evolution, since the emergence of the first computer till the advent of the internet. It seeks to prove that the history of cyberspace is better analysed as a complex process of restructuring, not just technically, but also politically and socially, in which the interests of various actors competed, and security considerations were intertwined with technical ones, and in many respects coproduced them. This analysis is important to show that security was not imposed on cyberspace by political discourses, but has always been intrinsic to the existence of its components and technologies. Besides, it challenges the deterministic accounts of the development of computers and networks, which present them in an idealistic, utopian image as being solely products of civilian and academic efforts.


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  • Published

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ECCWS 2018 - Proceedings of the 17th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security




Academic Conferences and Publishing International

Event name

The 17th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ECCWS 2018)

Event location

Oslo, Norway

Event type


Event date

28-29 June, 2018



Department affiliated with

  • International Relations Publications

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  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes


Audun Josang

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