Grant / January 2020

The Internet’s Challenge to the State

The Internet is the latest in a long line of technologies promising to connect ever-increasing numbers of people. Despite obvious benefits, however, its potentially disruptive consequences for commerce, daily life, and governance are innumerable. Various actors including civil society, NGOs, international organizations, terrorist groups, and hacker collectives are now able to take part in politics on, inside, and of the Web. In lights of these challenges, this project seeks to better understand the political challenges posed to States by the Internet. Specifically, the study considers 1) how threats emanating from non-state actors change the development of technology; 2) the locations of vulnerability for the state; and 3) how the Internet might change in the process of “securitization.” The findings of the study has immediate policy implications for governments as well as broader consequences for theorizing in International Relations around the role of non-state actors in international affairs, new spaces for governance, and the future of conflict.