Information Revolution impacts International Relations
London, UK - 13 May 2005, 12:00 GMT - The first international
conference on the information revolution and the changing face of international
relations and security in Lucern, Switzerland between 23rd and 25th May jointly
organised by the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at the Swiss Federal Institute
for Technology (ETH) Zurich and the Comparative Interdisciplinary Studies
Section (CISS) of the International Studies Association (ISA), seeks to highlight
the role of the "information revolution" as a contributory factor
to the fundamental changes occurring in the international system as well as
national and global security. The mi2g Intelligence Unit has been invited
to contribute to the event at keynote level.
Prof Andreas Wenger, Director, Center for Security Studies, Swiss Federal
Institute of Technology Zurich
"The importance of information and knowledge today is
forcing us to take a new look at the main actors in international relations.
Traditionally, states have been the exclusive holders of power and authority.
With the advent of the internet, new and diverse actors have entered the stage,
and simultaneously the speed, capacity, and flexibility in collecting, producing,
and disseminating information have increased. As a result of the fragmentation
of authority and the altered quality of power, the traditional foundations
of security have also been turned upside down," according to Prof
Andreas Wenger, Director, Center for Security Studies, Swiss Federal Institute
of Technology Zurich. "Among other things, the information revolution
has dramatically increased the dependence of developed countries on efficient
national and transnational information infrastructures. The complete reliance
of entire societies on information systems and networks has created a new
set of 'information risks' with specific traits that make them both difficult
to predict and detect - for example, the threat is not restricted by political
or geographical boundaries, the capacity to inflict significant damage is
readily available and relatively easy to use by those with even cursory skills
and knowledge of computer technologies, maintaining anonymity is easy, and
the cost of carrying out attacks is low and falling. This conference examines
important aspects of these information risks and some of the countermeasures
that are being drafted to ameliorate them."
The organisers at the invitation-only conference have gathered a select group
of expert individuals, including European and American scholars, policy makers,
and other professionals from the military, government and the private sector
to engage in a cross professional and interdisciplinary discourse. Selected
papers will be published in an edited volume.
The conference engages in an interdisciplinary discourse to analyse the scope
and complexity of the contemporary challenges and opportunities confronting
the international community. While it is increasingly apparent that the dynamic
integration of technologies into a multimedia system of communication is having
a profound influence on the international system, there is far less consensus
about the theoretical and practical implications of the often contradictory
developments being observed.
The discourse is spread across three broad based topical areas:
1. Governing the Information Age: This topic addresses the issue of how
the information revolution challenges the supremacy of the state. Including
issues such as new forms of governance; Internet regulation; and "new"
forms of power including 'soft power'.
2. Security in the Information Age: This topic analyses the security
implications of the information revolution. It includes subjects such as "cyber
threats"; information operations; and countermeasures.
3. New Approaches for the Information Age - Challenges and Case Studies:
This topic focuses on changing circumstances and the new conceptual, theoretical,
methodological, and feasible approaches towards a changing global environment.
Including selected case studies on the information revolution and the transformation
of global exchanges.
Chair and Keynote Speaker
The conference will be chaired by Prof Sai-Felicia Krishna-Hensel, President
and Program Chair, of the Comparative Interdisciplinary Studies Section, International
Studies Association. The conference will be inaugurated by Dr Victor Mauer,
Deputy Director and Head of Research, Center for Security Studies, Swiss Federal
Institute for Technology Zurich. The keynote speaker for the event will be
DK Matai, Executive Chairman, mi2g and Chairman, Asymmetric Threats
Contingency Alliance (ATCA), who will introduce the theme of "Holistic
Solutions to Counter Asymmetric Threats: The Pivotal Role of Technology."
Prof Sai-Felicia Krishna Hensel - Chair
"The virtual world of cyberspace with its great potential for expanding
the boundaries of our imagination, presents us with unprecedented challenges
as well as a unique opportunity to assess the shape and direction of the twenty
first century world," said Prof Sai-Felicia Krishna-Hensel, Conference
Chair. "In going beyond the traditional academic boundaries and promoting
a cross disciplinary dialogue, we are only acknowledging the realities of
a world in which traditional state and institutional boundaries are rapidly
ceasing to be impediments to meaningful global dialogue aimed at facilitating
cooperation to help understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities
of the 21st century."
Dr Victor Mauer - Opening
"Perhaps more than anything else, the new domain of cyberspace is
considered to be the ultimate symbol of globalisation. Advances in information
technology have a strong influence on the way in which states, societies,
and trade function around the globe. States are changing, but they are not
vanishing. State sovereignty has eroded, but it is still forcefully asserted.
Governments are weaker, but they can still throw their weight around. Borders
have become more porous, but they still seek to keep out intruders. We think
of ourselves as global, but territoriality is still a central preoccupation
for many people," said Dr Victor Mauer, Deputy Director and Head
of Research, Center for Security Studies, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Zurich. "Despite its importance, the 'information revolution' and
its impact on business, society, the state, and international relations is
still a fairly exotic field of study. In the absence of significant empirical
research, anecdotal evidence is frequently offered when analysing the impact
of the information revolution on international relations and security. We
are challenged to further our understanding of these changes, so that prevalent
feelings and assumptions may turn into an informed understanding of the causes
and effects of the latest technological and policy developments."
DK Matai - Keynote Speaker
"This is a very timely conference as asymmetric threats initiated by
the information revolution are growing fast and are changing the face of international
relations and global security at a fundament level," said DK Matai,
Executive Chairman, mi2g. "Entire armies of hundreds of thousands
of compromised computers across the world - Botnets - can now be controlled
by one sovereign individual or a very small team and this brings a whole new
meaning to 'asymmetric warfare' between nation states and small groups. Many
global corporations and countries have experienced partial cut-off from the
Internet as a a direct result of Botnet's induced denial of service attacks
and this is just the tip of the emerging iceberg. Collaboration between organised
criminals, extremists and malevolents is rising much faster than what the
international legal system was designed to cope with. Anonymity and global
mobility are the much exploited boons of cyberspace."
DK Matai is Executive Chairman of mi2g which won the Queen's Award
for enterprise in the category of innovation and DK also Chairs the Asymmetric
Threats Contingency Alliance (ATCA) that brings together members from the
House of Lords, House of Commons, European Parliament, US Congress, Senior
Government officials from G10 nations and outside, and over 500 CEOs from
banking, insurance, defence and computing.
Second Conference in May 2006
This first international conference in May 2005 entitled "The Information
Revolution and the Changing Face of International Relations and Security,"
combines empirical studies with innovative concepts and scenarios to evaluate
the current and future direction of the international order.
The second international conference in May 2006 in the series will continue
the focus on the central role of technology. It will concentrate on Global
Networks, Shifting Power Nodes, and Security Initiatives in the Global community,
to add to the ongoing dialogue and research agenda. Focusing on network architecture
and exchange economics, this meeting proposes to carry the dialogue on the
cyber revolution into the next stage.
mi2g is at the leading edge of building secure on-line banking, broking
and trading architectures. The principal applications of our technology are:
2. Digital Risk Management; and
3. Bespoke Security Architecture.
mi2g pioneers enterprise-wide security practices and technology to
save time and cut cost. We enhance comparative advantage within financial
services and government agencies. Our real time intelligence is deployed worldwide
for contingency capability, executive decision making and strategic threat
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can be ordered from here.
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