10-12 Nov 2020 / Online

Moving Forward: Fragmentation, Polarization and Hybridity in Cyberspace

2020 Conference

Our third conference on cyber norms will take place on 10-12 November 2020! For this year's edition we will go completely online. We will share the exact schedule and other sessions at a later stage.

Keynote speakers

Madeline Carr

Professor of Global Politics and Cyber Security, University College London.

The Hague Program on International Cyber Security

Milton Mueller

Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy.

The Hague Program on International Cyber Security

Bruce Schneier

Security Technologist.

The Hague Program on International Cyber Security

Mariarosaria Taddeo

Senior Researcher Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute & Deputy Director of the Digital Ethics Lab.

The Hague Program on International Cyber Security

Conference program

Day 1: Tuesday 10 November 2020

10:15 – Opening remarks by Dennis Broeders

10:30 – Keynote by Madeline Carr, From the Ground Up: Polarization, Fragmentation and Hybridity in the Research and Practice of Cyber Norms

11:30 – Short break

11:45 – Panel 1:

  • Unsettling the grand-narratives of cyberspace
    Moderator: Fabio Cristiano
    – Myriam Dunn Cavelty & Florian J. Egloff, "From Cyber-exceptionalism to Restoring Normalcy: Cyber Campaigns and Strategic Intent"
    – Giovanni De Gregorio & Roxana Radu, "The New Era of Internet Governance: Fragmentation, Polarisation and Hybridity"
    – Katharin Tai, "From Network Security to Cybersecurity: How Chinese Network Security becomes a Matter of State Survival"

13:00 – Break

14:00 – Panel 2:

  • International cyber order in the making
    Moderator: Bibi van den Berg
    – Julia Voo, Irfan Hemani, Simon Jones, Winnona DeSombre, Daniel Cassidy & Anina Schwarzenbach, "A New Framework for Measuring National Cyber Power"
    – Eugene EG Tan, "Development of Cyber Norms and International Law in ASEAN"
    – Arindrajit Basu & Karthik Nachiappan, "Will India Negotiate?: The politics of multilateral engagement for fostering responsible state behaviour in cyberspace"
    – Taylor Grossman, "Disinformation Campaigns and Norms of Emergency Communication in Cyberspace"

15:30 – End of day 1

Day 2: Wednesday 11 November 2020

10:30 – Panel 3:

  • Information warfare, emerging technologies, and military strategies
    Moderator: Monica Kaminska
    – Peter B.M.J. Pijpers & Paul A.L. Ducheine, "Influence Operations in Cyberspace - how they really work"
    – Amy Ertan, "(Cyber) Security Strategies in the Age of AI"
    – Tobias Liebetrau, "Emerging European Engagements in Cyber Conflict Short of War: Towards a Critical Account"
    – Ronan Ó Fathaigh, Tom Dobber, Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius & James Shires, "Microtargeted propaganda by foreign actors, an interdisciplinary exploration"

12:00 – Break

14:00 – Panel 4:

  • Digital and cyber sovereignty at crossroads
    Moderator: James Shires
    – Cedric Amon, "European Tech Sovereignty: Europe's push for values-based norm-making in cyberspace"
    – Christiane Ahlborn, "Digital Sovereignty – On How to Make International Rules for Cyberspace"
    – Robert Mogielnicki, "Sovereign Data: The Development and Marketing of Bahrain's Digital Domain"
    – Emma Ahmed-Rengers & Mansoor Ahmed-Rengers, "Democracy on the Margins of the Market: A Critical Look Into the Privatisation of Cyber Norm Foundation"

15:30 – Break

16:00 – Keynote by Milton Mueller, Sovereignty and Cyberspace: What is the future of global Internet compatibility?

17:00 – End of day 2

Day 3: Thursday 12 November 2020

10:30 – Keynote by Mariarosaria Taddeo, Deterrence and Norms to Foster Stability in Cyberspace

11:30 – Short break

11:45 – Panel 5:

  • 'How it applies': international law and responsible state behaviour in cyberspace
    Moderator: Els De Busser
    – Dennis Broeders, Els De Busser, Fabio Cristiano & Tatiana Tropina, "Revisiting past cyber operations in light of new cyber norms and interpretations of international law: Inching towards lines in the sand?"
    – François Delerue, "Is international law fading away in State practice on cyber operations?"
    – Przemysław Roguski, "Norm-based accountability vs. law-based responsibility for cyber operations"
    – Jan Martin Lemnitzer, "Due Diligence in Cyber space: are we heading for a Cyber Alabama?"

13:15 – Break

14:00 – Panel 6:

  • Toward inclusion: the global governance of cyber norms
    Moderator: Tatiana Tropina
    – Fabio Cristiano, "Embracing the 'adversarial cyberspace': agonistic cyber norms for antagonistic cyber conflicts"
    – André Barrinha & Lousie Marie Hurel, "The hybrid place: Civil Society in the Open-Ended Working Group"
    – Irene Poetranto, Josh Gold & Justin Lau, "Views from the South: An analysis of India, Indonesia, and South Africa's positions at the UN OEWG"
    – Elmarie Biermann, "Cyber Capacity Building in the Global South – a Critical Platform for leveraging Equity in the Cyber Norms Debate: A South African Case Study"

15:30 – Short break

16:00 – Keynote by Bruce Schneier, Securing a World of Physically Capable Computers

16:45 – Closing remarks and announcement best paper award by Dennis Broeders

17:00 – End of conference

Conference Theme | Moving Forward: Fragmentation, Polarization and Hybridity  in Cyberspace

(PDF available here)

Fragmentation, polarization and hybridity and are setting the scene for the debate about responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. These developments are neither new, nor fully understood, but they are set to play an important role on how to move forward in the diplomatic processes on international security and cyberspace. Fragmentation can cover a lot of different developments in cyberspace ranging from interference with core protocols and processes of the internet itself, to ideas of digital sovereignty that are aimed at ‘national infospheres’. Polarization has increasingly become part of national and international politics. Domestic political tensions provide fertile soil for information operations. Geopolitical power play has become an integrated part of international politics in the past decade. Tensions between western countries and Russia and the fierce competition between the US and China extend into, and are reinforced, by the digital domain. These can make or break diplomatic agreement on norms of responsible behaviour in cyberspace. Hybridity, even though the term is often over inclusive, refers to the blurring of categories that were traditionally separate, such as those between civilian and military, overt and covert. It may also refer to a blurring of lines between interfaces, or online and offline worlds. The internet has proven to be an ideal ‘space’ to blur boundaries of a wide variety, for instance through the contested boundaries between the national and the international, and between technology and politics.

How will these developments play out as states and other stakeholders try to move forward on devising norms of responsible (state) behaviour in cyberspace? At the UN level, the debate itself has been fragmented and polarized, resulting in both a new UN GGE and an Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) with largely the same mandate. At the same time, it seems difficult to deal with (state sponsored) cyber and/or information operations that are neither peace nor war. If the debate can’t be moved forward at the UN, it will likely move elsewhere, as it did after the 2017 round of the GGE failed. Will the world divide in different normative enclaves? Will other stakeholders step up to the plate? Will geopolitical tensions, state behaviour and power play in cyberspace become the main source of norms? Will there be a forum in which (state sponsored) attacks like NotPetya and WannaCry can be addressed?

In 2020, we hope to take the conversation about cyber norms further by taking these three macro-level developments – fragmentation, polarization and hybridity- and linking them to the need to move forward in this debate, as the general theme for the annual academic conference of The Hague Program for Cyber Norms. As before, we aim to bring together scholars from a diverse range of disciplines including – but not limited to – international relations, international law, economics, political economy, security studies, political sociology, philosophy, political science, science and technology studies and engineering. The key to understanding the development of norms in cyberspace lies in bringing together the various disciplines that relate to the theme in a broad sense. This call for papers is therefore open to extended abstracts from a wide range of academic disciplines.

We welcome papers dealing with different aspects of fragmentation, hybridity and polarization (or combinations thereof) in relation to the question of how the debate on norms and (responsible) state behaviour in cyberspace develops and will develop.  

The conference is the third in an annual series organised by The Hague Program for Cyber Norms and aspires to become a key multidisciplinary venue for peer-reviewed research in the study of cyber security and international stability. Follow the links for an impression of the 2018 and the 2019 edition of the conference.

Stay updated on our conference. Make sure you are signed up to our mailing list or follow us on Twitter.