The Regime Complex for Managing Global Cyber Activities
CitationNye, Joseph S. 2014. The Regime Complex for Managing Global Cyber Activities. Global Commission on Internet Governance Paper Series, 1.
AbstractWhen we try to understand cyber governance, it
is important to remember how new cyberspace is.
“Cyberspace is an operational domain framed by use of
electronics to…exploit information via interconnected
systems and their associated infra structure” (Kuehl
2009). While the US Defense Department sponsored a
modest connection of a few computers called ARPANET
(Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in 1969,
and the World Wide Web was conceived in 1989, it has
only been in the last decade and a half that the number
of websites burgeoned, and businesses begin to use this
new technology to shift production and procurement in
complex global supply chains. In 1992, there were only a
million users on the Internet (Starr 2009, 52); today, there
are nearly three billion, and the Internet has become a
substrate of modern economic, social and political life.
And the volatility continues. Analysts are now trying to
understand the implications of ubiquitous mobility, the
“Internet of everything” and storage of “big data.” Over
the past 15 years, the advances in technology have far
outstripped the ability of institutions of governance to
respond, as well as our thinking about governance.
Since the 1970s, political scientists have looked at the
international governance processes of various global
affairs issues through the perspective of regime theory
(Keohane and Nye 1977; Ruggie 1982). This paper is
a mapping exercise of cyber governance using regime
theory. Regimes are the “principles, norms, rules and
procedures that govern issue areas in international
affairs,” but these concepts have rarely been applied to
the new cyber domain (Krasner 1983). In its early days,
thinking about cyber governance was relatively primitive.
Ideological libertarians proclaimed that “information
wants to be free,” portraying the Internet as the end of
government controls. In practice, however, governments
and geographical jurisdictions have been playing a major
role in cyber governance right from the start.
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