Scott Shackelford on cybersecurity and polycentric governance

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October 9, 2012

Scott Shackelford, assistant professor of business law and ethics at Indiana University, and author of the soon-to-be-published book Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations: In Search of Cyber Peace, explains how polycentric governance could be the answer to modern cybersecurity concerns.

Shackelford  originally began researching collective action problems in physical commons, including Antarctica, the deep sea bed, and outer space, where he discovered the efficacy of polycentric governance in addressing these issues. Noting the similarities between these communally owned resources and the Internet, Shackelford was drawn to the idea of polycentric governance as a solution to the collective action problems he identified in the online realm, particularly when it came to cybersecurity.

Shackelford contrasts the bottom-up form of governance characterized by self-organization and networking regulations at multiple levels to the increasingly state-centric approach prevailing in forums like the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).  Analyzing the debate between Internet sovereignty and Internet freedom through the lens of polycentric regulation, Shackelford reconceptualizes both cybersecurity and the future of Internet governance.

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