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Research Report

‘Teach a person how to surf’:: Cyber security as development assistance

Niels Nagelhus Schia
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2016
Pages: 37

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 1-3)
  2. (pp. 4-4)
  3. (pp. 5-5)

    Much policy literature on digitalization and development has focused on the importance of connecting developing countries to digital networks, and how such technology can expand access to information for billions of people in developing countries, stimulating economic activity, collaboration and organizations. Good connection to digital networks may have a fundamental impact on societies, changing not only how individuals and businesses navigate, operate and seek opportunities, but also as regards relations between government and the citizenry. Instead of adding to the substantial literature on the potential dividends, this report examines a less-studied issue: the new societal vulnerabilities emerging from digitalization in...

  4. (pp. 6-7)

    Digital technology underpins most of the social, economic and political development goals of most donor countries and international organizations today. Cyber Security Capacity Building (CCB), an approach aimed at advancing, cultivating and encouraging growth and stability in developing countries through digitalization, seems set to play an increasingly important role in future foreign-policy considerations and government programmes.²

    In the NUPI project ‘Cyber Security Capacity Building’ (2015–2016) we have mapped out concrete risks and challenges, produced recommendations for dealing with them and provided suggestions for implementing these tools effectively. (In addition to the present project report, see Klimburg and Zylberberg 2015...

  5. (pp. 8-10)

    Information and communication technology (ITC) is nothing new. The first undersea telegraph cable /under the Atlantic Ocean/ was laid in 1858 by the Atlantic Telegraph Company. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was founded in 1865, and became a UN agency in 1947. The ARPANET (predecessor to the Internet) was created in 1969; the first email was sent in 1971; the first Internet worm or malware was detected in 1988; and in 1993, the Internet and the World Wide Web were made publicly accessible and free. Although information and communication technology has been around for more than a century, digitalization and...

  6. (pp. 11-15)

    In 2015 the World Bank published its new global poverty estimates, confirming that the target of halving the rate of extreme poverty was achieved seven years ahead of schedule. The new goal of eradicating extreme poverty in the course of the next 15 years has now been endorsed by the UN through the SDGs. Some claim that it will be possible to achieve this, because the developing world is fundamentally changing thanks to the connectivity made possible by digital networks. However, even though the digitalization of developing countries is spreading rapidly, achieving faster growth, more jobs, better services and the...

  7. (pp. 16-21)

    ICT has become a highly important foundation for most infrastructures in developed societies, and the developing countries are now following in their path. Individuals, businesses and nations are depending more and more on data and systems in the virtual world. In this global transition into the digital era it is easy to forget that the Internet was not invented for carrying the critical features and infrastructure that it does today, including key societal sectors such as energy, power, economy, health, communications and transport. The increasing interconnectedness of these features implies a major change in the societal risk factors facing us...

  8. (pp. 22-23)

    Inter-country exchange of information and experience gained is an important element in producing and developing new international cyber politics. Because of the rapid development of ICT, and the even more rapid pace of connectivity across the globe, old political challenges in international relations resurface in new and sometimes unexpected ways. In this political landscape there is a dire need for new norms, policies and trust. The multi-stakeholder approach, hailed as a way forward in international relations concerned with cyberspace, involves states, international organizations, private actors, think-tanks and NGOs. In this way, cyberspace as a political topic in international relations incorporates...

  9. (pp. 25-27)

    Most donor-driven development assistance is in one way or another concerned with the ‘ownership debate’. Although not yet very prominent in policy documents, this debate is also relevant for CCB projects. The term ‘ownership’ has a long trajectory in development traditions and needs further clarification here, in order to connect it to CCB.

    In development work, the term local ownership emerged in the report of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 1996. This document highlighted the importance of locally owned development strategies, defining local people in their relation to donors. Such ownership built on an idea that had featured...

  10. (pp. 28-29)

    This report has shown how digitalization and cyber security as new global challenges are becoming increasingly central to the organization of development assistance – with consequences for billions of people in the developing world. With the emergence of digitalization and cyber security challenges, the transfer of knowledge and experience from traditional donor countries to the developing countries becomes crucial, perhaps even more important, than the transfer of funding. In the long term, this development may contribute to more equal partnerships, in which the interests of donors as well as of recipient countries are safeguarded. This report has also shown how...

  11. (pp. 30-31)

    Baseline studies show that there is a gap between development goals and intentions in donor policies, and the level of digital vulnerability and cyber security in developing countries. This indicates that, if digital development is to be sustainable, it will need to be followed up by a focus on digital security. Here donor countries can assist, through core development and aid activities, with projects focused on improving the analogue foundations for the digital technology such as knowledge, information, education, employment and institutions – but also by facilitating arenas where experience and lessons learnt can be shared at local, national and...

  12. (pp. 32-35)
  13. (pp. 36-36)