Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2018

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Language

English

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Global Policy

Advisor

Seth Singleton

Second Committee Member

Frank Appunn

Third Committee Member

Kenneth Hillas

Additional Committee Members

Kristin Vekasi

Abstract

Research into the international agreements that increase cooperation over cybersecurity challenges is severely lacking. This is a necessary next step for bridging diplomatic challenges over cybersecurity. This work aspires to be push the bounds of research into these agreements and offer a tool that future researchers can rely on. For this research I created, and made publicly available, the International Cybersecurity Cooperation Dataset (ICCD), which contains over 350 international cybersecurity agreements and pertinent metadata. Each agreement is marked per which subtopics within cybersecurity related agreements it covers. These typologies are:

  • Discussion and Dialogue

  • Research

  • Confidence Building Measures

  • Incident Response

  • Crime

  • Capacity Building

  • Activity Limiting

  • Defense

  • Terrorism

Drawing on ICCD and R for summary statistics and significance tests, as well as some quantitative insights, this research explores the relationship between different agreements, organizations, and other possibly related factors. The most significant takeaways from this research are:

  1. Governments view cybersecurity in terms of relative advantages and are hesitant to engage competitors with agreements over topics like incident response and capacity building.

  2. Authoritarian governments are involved with agreements over controlling or projecting state power and government authority while democratic governments focus on resilience and defense.

  3. There are two groupings of authoritarian governments, those with high technical capabilities and those without. Technically capable governments focus on agreements over terrorism, and they also often end up participating in activity limiting agreements. Those without are preoccupied with agreements over criminal activity.

  4. Discussion and dialogue agreements tend to accompany agreements over additional topics about one fifth of the time. While policy-makers shouldn’t create a hard rule out of this statistic, it does possibly strengthen an optimistic hypothesis that dialogue consistently leads to agreements.

Hopefully this research invigorates researchers’ interest in studying and understanding when cooperation over cybersecurity is successful or not. Policy-makers will need this knowledge if they are to achieve their goals in an environment that is rapidly increasing in state actors and complexity

Comments

For the publicly available underlying dataset, please visit:
http://keepingpacewithcyberspace.com/ICCD

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