Title

Confronting Cyber Warfare: Rethinking the Ethics of Cyber War

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Department

Philosophy

Abstract

The emergence of sophisticated cyber weapons such as Stuxnet and Flame, and widespread offensive cyber-operations revealed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden, pose challenges not only to international security and civilian infrastructure, but blur the distinction between violence and nonviolence, confusing the ethical discourse of cyber war and muting public discourse and resistance. Rethinking cyber war as destabilizing nonviolence reveals the moral ambiguities and contested ontology of cyber weapons, heightens awareness of their conflicted linguistic representation and challenges the vantage point of “the responsible actor” in justifying cyber war attacks. Such heightened awareness of the ontological and ethical complexity of cyber weapons makes room for reasoned public discourse and strategies of resistance to clandestine cyber war and to justified use arguments that defend cyber weapons as nonviolent.

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