Information Power: International Affairs in the Cyber Age

34 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2001

See all articles by Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger

Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger

Oxford Internet Institute; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Gernot Brodnig

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: November 2001

Abstract

Modern information and communication technologies are reshaping the environment in which foreign policy and international relations are conducted. According to conventional wisdom the information revolution has increased the influence of non-state actors and undermined the authority of the nation-state. While there is mounting anecdotal evidence supporting this trend, the nature and scope of the transmission belt between technological change and political outcomes remain largely unexplored.

This paper provides a framework for assessing the impact of the information revolution on power structures in international affairs. The ability to control information access is increasingly becoming a source of power. Shifting information between different access categories can be a deliberate policy tool, or the unintentional consequence of changes in the control of information infrastructures. The latter phenomenon has, in recent years, often taken the shape of a "denationalization" of state-controlled information infrastructures, facilitating shifts in information power away from state actors.

Keywords: Information Technology, Intergovernmental Relations, International Security, Nonprofit Sector

Suggested Citation

Mayer-Schoenberger, Viktor and Brodnig, Gernot, Information Power: International Affairs in the Cyber Age (November 2001). Kennedy School Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP01-044, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=292949 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.292949

Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger (Contact Author)

Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-7299 (Phone)
617-496-5960 (Fax)

Gernot Brodnig

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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