Welcome all readers to my corner of the new ICSR blog, Free Rad!cals. By means of introduction, I’ll just say a few things about who I am and what I intend to bring to this new venture.
I’m Tim Stevens, Associate Fellow of the ISCR and graduate student in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.
My involvement with ICSR over the last year stems from my perpetual fascination with technology and its relationship with society. This has evolved over the years into a more focused interest on information technologies, and the study of these informs my current research.
Information technologies matter. Whether it’s the internet, global capital markets, urban surveillance networks, or drones over Pakistan, at some level all citizens are touched by the flow of 1s and 0s that constitute the lifeblood of international communications and control systems.
Whilst most functions and uses of this global information grid are benign, like all technologies there are uses which, depending on your viewpoint, can be considered negative, anti-social, cynical, or downright dangerous. For governments, cyberspace has become the focus of concern, regulation but, of course, opportunity too.
Both state and non-state actors have a responsibility to ensure that the vast benefits of the ‘information revolution’ are not outweighed or overturned by fear and panic stemming from the actions of a few in a sea of many. How we manage digital complexity is one of the great challenges of the 21st century.
I will be writing about this challenge. We need to understand what the ‘bad guys’ are up to in cyberspace before we can implement good policy or legislate effectively. The role of information technologies in political violence is a subject worthy of study in its own right but so too is what states intend to do about it.
Cyberspace is evolving rapidly and what governments do in the next few years is likely to impact on all of us for a lot longer. Here at Free Rad!cals I hope to encourage level-headed comment on these pertinent, and occasionally contentious, issues. Most importantly, we want you to contribute your thoughts and ideas. After all, it’s your cyberspace too.