Research Area IV

Digital technology and security

Developments in the realm of digital technology have permeated contentious political processes in profound ways. From Ukraine to Hong Kong, digital communication technology has amplified grievances and helped citizens mobilise against repressive rulers. Concurrently, governments globally are extending their technological tools to surveil, manipulate, censor information, and further social control. At the international level, cyber espionage, foreign election interference, and network-based attacks are increasingly common.

At the Centre for International Security we study the interplay between digital technology and topics related to conflict and security. We specialise in questions pertaining to state behaviour in the digital sphere, taking into account the strategic advantage state forces have in controlling critical infrastructure.

We address and investigate the following key challenges:

  • How does Internet access impact the dynamics of political violence?
  • How do repressive states leverage digital technology in their broader control agendas?
  • What does the strategic use of social media encompass in the context of armed conflict?
  • How are governments employing social media platforms, especially when encountering rising domestic opposition?

Repression in the Digital Age: Surveillance, Censorship, and the Dynamics of State Violence by Anita R. Gohdes

This book presents a groundbreaking study on the role of digital technology in augmenting traditional forms of state repression. It delves into the intricate relationship between government censorship, surveillance tactics, and the escalation of violent repression. By utilizing a combination of theoretical insights and empirical evidence, the book offers a comprehensive understanding of how modern digital tools are used to suppress dissent and control populations.

Security Research Snapshot

Do digital technologies tip the balance of power toward repressive states or civil society? 

Read our expert's view on our latest research snapshot.

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