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Security in Cyberspace: Dynamics, Limits, and Opportunities – A Workshop Report

Author: Toso de Alcântara, B., Jacon Ayres Pinto, D., Forma Klafke, G., & Copetti Cravo, V.
Published in:
Year: 2018
Type: Working paper

This is the report of the workshop "Security in Cyberspace: dynamics, limits, and opportunities", held on the 14th of May 2020 and jointly organized by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), the São Paulo Law School of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV-Direito SP) and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG).The deep interlacing between society and cyberspace has been changing human interactions in several societal spheres, such as the economic, legal, and political ones. Specifically, regarding interstate communications, these changes present themselves in such a dynamic way that digital actions usually mismatch traditional strategic thinking, leaving room for uncertainties and possible unforeseen effects in the physical world. Thus, at the same time that cyberspace presents opportunities for society, it can also provide a new venue for vulnerabilities, maximized by the fear of deviant online actions targeting critical infrastructure and the imbalances between digital openness and surveillance. These dynamics with their limits and opportunities need to be better assessed and discussed by the various actors present in cyberspace, and that was the aim of the workshop.The workshop was an effort to link North and South concerns toward security, liberty, conflicts, and power relations in the digital domain. Specifically, it sought to bring together Brazilian and European scholars in order to demystify the perception that cyber issues are constrained to a very few “great powers” like China, Russia, and the USA. Moreover, it demonstrated that good practices and some institutional approaches may offer alternative ways of conducting actions in cyberspace. To this end, the workshop encompassed four panels, each touching upon one central issue. The first panel addressed the possible implications of framing cyberspace as a war domain for society and interstate relations. The second panel focused on the discussion on the tensions between security and liberty online. The third panel focused on cyber-security frameworks in Brazil and Europe. The final panel synthesized how all the previous topics relate to power relations in the digital realm.

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