Theoretical Foundations of internet security

The introductory chapter briefly touched on the seemingly aligned trends, namely the increasing diversification and denationalisation of security governance on the one hand and the Internet-empowerment of distributed, self-organised, bottom-up collaboration on the other The peer production of Internet security would be a perpetuation of these trends.

And yet, the usual secrecy that appears to come by default with security governance and operations runs across the definitional characteristics of peer production or other forms of open social production. Secrecy and openness are clearly opposing theoretical concepts.

The limits of the applicability of peer production in other societal domains than software needs better understanding.

Likewise, it is unknown which forms of social production might emerge, when ideas of distributed, self-organised, bottom-up collaboration are applied in the domain of security provisioning. This chapter identifies and discusses the theoretical foundations and core concepts that are relevant for researching the relationship between peer production and security governance, or, more generally, the social organisation of security production. This study follows a multi-disciplinary approach, using literature on open source and peer production, the economics of Internet security, security and policing, and Internet governance. Section 2.1 reviews the broad literature on new forms of collaboration. It analyses peer and open source production, extracts their core characteristics and their premises, and discusses the viability and applicability of social organisation in areas besides open source software production. The relative advantages and disadvantages of peer production over other modes of production and governance are also scrutinised. Furthermore, the section discusses weaknesses and limitations of the existing literature on social production.

Section 2.2 examines the wide field of Internet security governance, which overlaps with other complex fields such as Internet governance, security governance, and ICT security. It shows the increasing diversification of governance, security governance and the provisioning of public services. However, the full range of collaborative and governance forms presented in the first section have not been integrated into the literature on Internet security governance despite indications of their empirical existence. The third section analyses how secrecy and openness relate to peer production and security. Therefore, the different meanings and social functions of secrecy are presented, and the ambiguous relation to technical security portrayed. The section primarily attempts to theoretically anticipate the possible impact of secrecy on the feasibility of peer production. The fourth section finally integrates these previous streams of literature to overcome their respective deficiencies, our lack of insight into the limits of peer production and the lack of empirical analyses of actual production of Internet security. This research assumes that the peer production of Internet security is a distinct, available form or method of Internet security governance. This section presents a model of peer production of Internet security and its viability and hindrances.

Social production and the collaborative turn

With the advent of new technologies that are applicable to a wide range of possible fields of application, any existing societal institution potentially comes under pressure to adapt to new technologies or even be replaced by entirely new institutions. Information technology and the Internet have already resulted in a series of organisational and political changes (cp. section 1.2). A particularly noteworthy trend has been the rise of social production and peer production, a subtype of the former, referring to distributed, self-organised, and bottom-up-governed production. The rise of peer production is part of a trend towards forms of governance and production that no longer rely on markets and firms, but increasingly on networks and hybrids that rely upon networks. Pervasive information technology and the Internet have facilitated new forms of geographically distributed communication, cooperation, and collaboration. These changes have appeared in probably all societal domains, and have been analysed in a wide range of academic disciplines, such as public policy, international relation, organisational theory, sociology, or economics.

Social production relies on social relations among contributors, not on economic incentives or hierarchical orders. It comes in different types and is labelled with different concepts such as distributed collaboration, open source method, or peer production. These forms vary, among other criteria, in their openness, distributiveness, and socialness. For peer production in its strict commons-based variant, the product is openly accessible, and access to it not restricted. For certain types of crowd-sourced production, however, property rights for the product remain with the platform-owner. Similarly, information and input resources necessary for production can be proprietary and therefore undermine the feasibility of a production model based on merely social incentives. This section discusses various forms of social production and similar types of collaboration.

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