Minds and Machines

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 265–268 | Cite as

Cyber Conflicts and Political Power in Information Societies

  • Mariarosaria TaddeoEmail author

When asked what his goal was for the 1815 Waterloo Campaign, the Duke of Wellington answered “Why, to beat the French” (Gray 1984, 9).1 By French he meant Napoleon, and by beating him he meant defeating him for good, so that Napoleon could not pose a threat to European states any longer. A conflict was the most effective means to achieve this goal. Fast-forward 200 years, now is China versus USA, the domain is cyberspace where China has been launching attacks against the USA for at least 4 years to acquire relevant information from USA companies and governmental offices. The USA would like to stop the cyber-attacks, to do so they do not engage in a cyber conflict and choose a political strategy: the American and Chinese presidents meet and define bilateral agreements to stop state-run cyber-attacks between their two countries. This conflict was not won by either of the two actors, but solved by both of them.

The Waterloo example highlights that there is a relation between political...



I am grateful to Professor Luciano Floridi and Professor Massimo Durante for our insightful discussions on the topic of this letter and to Dr Jennifer Doubt for her comments on an early draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Digital Ethics Lab, Oxford Internet InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Alan Turing InstituteLondonUK

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