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The Politics of Stability: Cement and Change in Cyber Affairs


In November 2018, the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, inaugurated one year earlier ‘to develop proposals for norms and policies to enhance international security and stability and guide responsible state and non-state behavior in cyberspace’, launched six norms pointing ‘the way to new opportunities for increasing the stability of cyberspace’.

However, the Commission has not examined or explained the very concept it was established to explore. Quite the contrary, the Commission argues that its proposed norms will be used to define what cyber stability actually is. Focusing on the interrelationship between international peace and stability, and ways of achieving both in the context of ICTs, the authors will offer a model of stability of cyberspace. They begin by examining the concepts of ‘stability’ and ‘strategic stability’ as understood with regard to international security. This conceptual analysis is followed by a presentation of the political claims of stability expressed in national and international cyber-and information-security discourses. Drawing on the conceptual approaches and the political claims, the report then model the stability of cyberspace in three interlinked and reinforcing dimensions:

1) equal and inclusive international relations;
2) prevention of war: the minimal peace, with emphasis on averting a devastating nuclear war between the superpowers; and
3) the functionality of global and national technical systems and services. After discussing how international law, preventive diplomacy, confidence-building measures, and norms of responsible state behaviour can support cyberspace stability, this report concludes with recommendations for action aimed at helping to create and maintain a stable - resilient and adaptive - cyberspace.


  • Sikkerhetspolitikk
  • Cyber
  • Konflikt
  • Internasjonale organisasjoner
  • FN

Skrevet av

Mika Kerttunen
Eneken Tikk