Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2015

Democratic Governance Challenges of Cyber Security

Benjamin S. Buckland, Fred Schreier, Theodor H. Winkler

January 2015

Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces


Cyber security encompasses borderless challenges, while responses remainoverwhelmingly national in scope and even these are insufficient. There are enormous gaps in both our understanding of the issue, as well as in the technical and governance capabilities required to confront it. Furthermore, democratic governance concerns – particularly regarding control, oversight and transparency – have been almost entirely absent from the debate. These concerns are exacerbated by the enormous role played by private actors (both alone and in cooperation with governments) in online security of all types. Given the pace at which states and private companies are reinforcing online security and preparing for cyber war, addressing democratic governance concerns has never been more pressing. They are the primary subject of this paper