Philosophy & Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 105–120 | Cite as

Information Warfare: A Philosophical Perspective

Research Article

Abstract

This paper focuses on Information Warfare—the warfare characterised by the use of information and communication technologies. This is a fast growing phenomenon, which poses a number of issues ranging from the military use of such technologies to its political and ethical implications. The paper presents a conceptual analysis of this phenomenon with the goal of investigating its nature. Such an analysis is deemed to be necessary in order to lay the groundwork for future investigations into this topic, addressing the ethical problems engendered by this kind of warfare. The conceptual analysis is developed in three parts. First, it delineates the relation between Information Warfare and the Information revolution. It then focuses attention on the effects that the diffusion of this phenomenon has on the concepts of war. On the basis of this analysis, a definition of Information Warfare is provided as a phenomenon not necessarily sanguinary and violent, and rather transversal concerning the environment in which it is waged, the way it is waged and the ontological and social status of its agents. The paper concludes by taking into consideration the Just War Theory and the problems arising from its application to the case of Information Warfare.

Keywords

Cyber attack Information revolution Information warfare Robotic weapon Just war Theory War 

References

  1. Arquilla, J. (1998). Can information warfare ever be just? Ethics and Information Technology, 1(3), 203–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arquilla, J. (1999). Ethics and information warfare. In Z. Khalilzad, J. White, & A. Marsall (Eds.), Strategic appraisal: the changing role of information in warfare (pp. 379–401). Santa Monica: RAND.Google Scholar
  3. Arquilla, J., & Borer, D. A. (Eds.). (2007). Information strategy and warfare: A guide to theory and practice (contemporary security studies). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Arquilla, J., & Ronfeldt, D. (1997). In Athena's camp: Preparing for conflict in the information age. Santa Monica: RAND.Google Scholar
  5. Barnett, R. W. (1998). Information operations, deterrence and the use of force. Naval War College Review, 51(17), 7–19.Google Scholar
  6. Benbow, T. (2004). The magic bullet?: Understanding the revolution in military affairs. London: Brassey.Google Scholar
  7. Blackmore, T. (2005). War X. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bok, S. (1978). Lying: Moral choice in public and private. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  9. Brenner, S. W. (2008). Cyberthreats. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Burk, J. (2002). Theories of democratic civil–military relations. Armed Forces & Society, 29(1), 7–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Campen, A. D., & Dearth, D. H. (1998). Cyberwar 2.0: Myths, mysteries and reality. Fairfax, VA: AFCEA.Google Scholar
  12. Ciborra, C. (2005). Interpreting e-government and development: Efficiency, transparency or governance at a distance? Information Technology & People, 18(3), 260–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DeGeorge, R. T. (2003). Post-september 11: Computers, ethics and war. ar. Ethics and Information Technology, 5(44), 183–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Denning, D. (1999). Information warfare and security. Boston: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  15. Denning, D. (2007). The ethics of cyber conflict. In K. E. Himma & H. T. Tavani (Eds.), Information and computer ethics. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. Floridi, L. (2008a). Information ethics, its nature and scope. In J. V. D. Hoven & J. Weckert (Eds.), Information technology and moral philosophy (Vol. 40–65). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Floridi, L. (2008b). The method of levels of abstraction. Minds and Machines, 18(3), 303–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Floridi, L. (2009). The information society and its philosophy. The Information Society, 25(3), 153–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Floridi, L. (2010). The Digital Revolution as The Fourth Revolution. Invited contribution to the BBC online program Digital Revolution.Google Scholar
  20. Gelven, M. (1994). War and existence. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Huntington, S. P. (1957). The soldier and the state; the theory and politics of civil–military relations. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. H. Lauterpacht (Ed.) (1952). Oppenheim, International Law (7th ed., Vol. II Disputes, War and Neutrality)Google Scholar
  23. Libicki, M. (1996). What is information warfare? Washington: National Defense University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Matthias, A. (2004). The responsibility gap: Ascribing responsibility for the actions of learning automata. Ethics and Information Technology, 6(3), 175–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nitzberg, S. (1998). Conflict and the computer: Information warfare and related ethical issues. Arlington: Paper presented at the 21st National Information Systems Security Conference.Google Scholar
  26. Perry, D. L. (1995). Repugnant philosophy: Ethics, espionage, and covert action. Journal of Conflict Studies, Spring.Google Scholar
  27. Powers, T. M. (2004). Real wrongs in virtual communities. Ethics and Information Technology, 5(4), 191–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Saxena, K. B. C. (2005). Towards excellence in e-governance. Journal of Public Sector Management, 18(6), 498–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Saydjari, O., Tinnel, L., & Farrell, D. (2002). Cyberwar strategy and tactics: An analysis of cyber goals, strategies, tactics, and techniques. In 2002 IEEE Workshop on Information Assurance, United States Military Academy, West Point. NY, USA.Google Scholar
  30. Schmitt, M. N. (1999). The principle of discrimination in 21st century warfare. Yale Humna Right and Development Law Journal, 2, 143–160.Google Scholar
  31. Schwartau, W. (1994). Information warfare: Chaos on the electronic superhighway. New York: Thunder's Mouth.Google Scholar
  32. Schwartau, W. (1996). Ethical conundra of information warfare, in cyberwar: Security, strategy and conflict in the information age. In A. D. Campen, D. H. Dearth, & R. T. Goodden (Eds.), Cyberwar: Security, strategy and conflict in the information age. Fairfax: AFCEA.Google Scholar
  33. Shulman, M. R. (1999). Discrimination in the laws of information warfare. Pace Law Faculty Publications, 37, 939–968.Google Scholar
  34. Singer, P. W. (2009). Robots at war: The new battlefield. Wilson Quarterly, 33(1), 30–48.Google Scholar
  35. Sparrow, R. (2007). Killer robots. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 24(1), 62–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Steinhoff, U. (2007a). On the ethics of war and terrorism: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Steinhoff, U. (2007b). On The Ethics Of War And Terrorism. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Toffler, A., & Toffler, H. (1997). Foreword: The new intangibles. In J. Arquilla & D. Ronfeldt (Eds.), In Athena's camp: Preparing for conflict in the information age (pp. xii–xxiv). Santa Monica: RAND, MR- 880-OSD/RC.Google Scholar
  39. Wall, D. S. (2000). Introduction cybercrimes, cyberspeech and cyberliberties. International Review of Law Computers & Technology, 14(1), 5–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Waltz, E. L. (1998). Information warfare principles and operations. Norwood: Artech.Google Scholar
  41. Walzer, M. (2000). Just and unjust wars: A moral argument with historical illustrations (3rd ed.). New York: Basic.Google Scholar
  42. Weber, J. (2009). Robotic warfare, human rights & the rhetorics of ethical machines. In R. Capurro & M. Nagenborg (Eds.), Ethics and robotics (pp. 83–104). Amsterdam: Ios.Google Scholar
  43. Wingfield T (2000). The Law of Information Conflict. Falls Church, VA: Aegis Research Corporation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, School of HumanitiesMarie Curie Fellow - University of HertfordshireHatfieldUK

Personalised recommendations