PhD Student in Cyber Diplomacy, Division of Cybersecurity; Abertay University
I am currently pursuing a PhD in ‘Cyber diplomacy: diplomatic action in international relations on cyberspace’. My work aims to address the unanswered question relating to the extent to which Cyber diplomacy can be developed to regulate cyberspace.
Digital technology is the central point in promoting a country's economy, global competition, and cybersecurity. Internet access and the use of new technologies are on the political agendas of all countries, whether they are cyber powers or merely active users. However, increasingly sophisticated and dangerous cyber-attacks have led cyberspace to be seen as a strategic threat. My ongoing research suggests that in order to identify the extent to which cyberspace can be regulated, we need to combine diplomatic matters and cyber matters by observing rules and norms within the international law principles on cyberspace. In doing this, we should be able to highlight that diplomatic action in international relations is a global security priority in the interconnected world.
My background is interdisciplinary: from international political science through transnational politics, diplomacy, international law, to cyber matters. This background has enhanced my personal skills and network, but it also allows me to approach a topic from different perspectives. My interest in cyber diplomacy began during my Master’s thesis, where I carried out a project looking at 'The Paris Call on Cyberpeace'.I’m currently keeping an eye on the new 2019 UN initiative (with the two-UN processes: GGE and OEWG), with the observation and implementation of the 11 non-binding and voluntary norms, and the (cyber) security aspect. The main purpose of this UN initiative is to regulate cyberspace, through collaboration with different stakeholders from States to businesses, international organisations, civil society, and academics. It could reflect the international perspective and the global level, gathering all countries, as well as diverse stakeholders. We could probably have much to learn from this process.
My greatest achievement to date is the development of the first Evaluation Model of Cyber diplomacy. The model was informed by a systematic review of the literature on Cyber diplomacy and brings together two main theories of qualitative nature: the Actor-Network theory, and the Security theory (and by extension Cybersecurity). The model allows us to explain and understand what Cyber diplomacy is.
This research area excites me because it is a niche area, yet it is key to maintain peace, security and trust within cyberspace. Cyber diplomacy is a major issue for countries’ foreign policies, due to the interdisciplinary nature of the domain. There is still much empirical work to be carried out in this area, and we have much to learn from interviews with (former) presidents, ambassadors, career diplomats, academics, prof./tech. experts in the private sector, in academia, in industries, in international organisations, and in civil societies. We could also learn from the analysis of multiple literatures (academic/natural documents, audio/video), and examination of social media feeds.
Call for Events is now open! We're supporting Members and Expert Fellows to lead activities that explore aspects of TIPS in the Digital Economy. We will help to organise the activity with up to £5,000 to cover the associated costs.