2023 Conference on International Cyber Security | 7-8 November 2023
Register now

< Return to program overview

Panel 2


Bring in the Diplomats: Cyber Conflict and Diplomatic Negotiations

Courtney J. Fung

Courtney J. Fung is Associate Professor in the Department of Security Studies & Criminology at Macquarie University.  She is concurrently an associate-in-research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University and an associate fellow at the Lowy Institute.  Her work investigates how rising powers address the norms and provisions for global governance and international security, with a primary focus on China.  She is author of China and Intervention at the UN Security Council: Reconciling Status (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).



Dr. Jennifer S. Hunt

Dr. Jennifer S. Hunt is a Senior Lecturer in Cyber and Security Studies at Macquarie University specialising in cyber conflict and cyber-enabled information warfare. Dr Hunt has served as a delegate at the Shangri-la Security Dialogue and participated in the World Economic Forum in Abu Dhabi, and CyCon at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Estonia. Her current grants examine influence operations, hybrid warfare, and the role of generative AI in disinformation and countermeasures. Dr Hunt has provided expert commentary on BBC, MSNBC, ABC, SBS and the History Channel. A former sabre fencer at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, she also holds a private pilot’s license.





Mapping Cyber-Sovereignties

The rise of states acting as cyber-sovereignty norm entrepreneurs is shaping internet governance, with these states advocating for cyber-sovereignty as a component of sovereignty and an extension of national sovereignty in cyberspace. How do these cyber-sovereignty proponents envision and contextualise their understandings of cyber-sovereignty? Are there variations amongst these states understandings of cyber-sovereignty? While an emerging body of research studies single cases or dual case comparisons of cyber-sovereignty advocates, this paper contributes by systematically delineating the logics and ambitions of a wider cohort of Asian cyber-sovereignty state actors, namely the People’s Republic of China, India and Thailand. This paper produces a typology of these cyber-sovereignty states, along three dimensions drawn from a modified securitization framework focusing on the object of security, the actors that establish cyber-security and the threat framing that justifies such a normative position.  We use a descriptive, evidence-based approach including textual analysis of foreign-oriented policy statements used in cyber-norm negotiating forums, semi-authoritative news sources and secondary literature in multiple languages pertaining to cyber-sovereignty. The secondary literature includes academic and think tank researchers specializing in cyber governance, a well-recognized resource in regional foreign policy studies of more closed, authoritarian political systems.  The paper finds that these states share in common narratives of perceived exclusion from a Western-led cyber order, with domestic concerns of stability and political security at the root of their cyber-sovereignty views.  However, these states vary in their local versus global ambition to shape cyber norms, their understandings of the object of security and the threat framing used to justify their discursive positions.  The paper discusses the policy and theoretical implications of the research, namely that by understanding the crucial variation amongst these norm entrepreneurs can lead to a far more accurate assessment of future visions of international cyber order.