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Understanding Southern Influence in Cyberspace Security and Governance: Toward a Global Network of Southern-based Cyber Scholars

The securitization of cyberspace - that is, making it a matter of national security - is perhaps the most important force shaping global communications today. It is particularly troublesome for developing countries where the use of networked technologies is growing faster than anywhere else in the world.

The rapid spread of networked technologies like mobile telephones and the Internet has been accompanied by a widespread belief in their potential to enhance democracy. While there is evidence to support this belief, there are also movements afoot to restrict rights and freedoms in cyberspace. Around the world, states are asserting their control over cyberspace to suit their own domestic and foreign policy interests. Governments with more "territorial" visions of cyberspace are developing ambitious and increasingly international strategies. If successful, they could legitimize national controls on cyberspace and undo gains made in rights and openness.

This research will establish a network of Southern cyber security scholars and practitioners that will study the relationship between Internet governance, national and international cyber securitization and militarization processes, and the relative "openness" of information networks across the South. Members will collaborate globally to ensure that the security process will be monitored, evaluated, and influenced in a way that protects rights, openness, and networking.

The project will provide evidence of the benefits of openness in cyberspace that can inform international debates and governance models, and influence policy. It will produce research, academic papers, an edited volume and a project website, and host workshops and conferences. It will also contribute to the Cyberspace Governance map, a Web-based interactive visualization of cyber governance entities and how they interact.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
30 months
IDRC Officer
Ruhiya Seward
Total Funding
CA$ 2,282,760.00
North of Sahara
South of Sahara
Central Asia
South Asia
Far East Asia
South America
Networked Economies
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Project Leader
Ronald Deibert
The Governing Council of the University of Toronto



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