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The Opportunities of National Cyber Strategy and Social Media in the Rhizome Networks

Aki-Mauri Huhtinen, Arto Hirvelä and Tommi Kangasmaa
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Aki-Mauri Huhtinen: National Defence University, Helsinki, Finland
Arto Hirvelä: National Defence University, Helsinki, Finland
Tommi Kangasmaa: National Defence University, Helsinki, Finland

International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism (IJCWT), 2014, vol. 4, issue 2, 23-34

Abstract: Securing the society is a central task of the state. In the present day, as well as in the future, knowledge and information are evermore closely tied to electronic data transfer. Finland's newly published Cyber Security Strategy depicts how the government safeguards electronic data transfer, that is, information security against different threat and risk scenarios. Cyberspace has a human element and a technological element. It is a way to influence and affect society. It may be used to influence minds or to attack the physical world, for example by disrupting traffic control. But cyberspace cannot exist without people. The cyberspace offers the platform so called strategic communication. Strategic communication is a concept that unites the efforts of governmental organisations to influence people in support of national interests. Formal organisations and institutions are often seen as being opposed or resistant to change. Social Media and the cyber domain can offer many opportunities but also unknown threats and risks. In this paper we argue that securing an organisation is a living and continuously changing process. Deleuze and Guattari (1983) present the concept of a rhizome, meaning a dynamic weed formation which, opposed to the arboreal and hierarchical structure of the tree, involves spontaneous, unpredictable and distant connections between heterogeneous elements (Linstead & Thanem 2007, 1484) Strategic Communication is the focus of a heated discussion in the military field: How can militaries be credible and uphold the high standards of democracy within the asymmetric and complex battlefield? To be credible one must act according to what is said. The challenge is that the scene is global in the information age. The act, the actor, the scene, the purpose – all are exposed to a global audience through cyberspace on a very short notice. The most effective way of showing the scene and actors is an audiovisual product. Examples of this come from all conflict zones. Militaries are establishing Youtube channels and supplying material from intense fighting and frontline action. The solution for supporting the organisation's own arguments has been the Combat Camera capability, in other words media-trained soldiers who are where the main effort is happening. Within the spirit of strategic communication, the cyber strategy itself is one way to operationalise cyber security by announcing measures to be taken against cyber attacks. In this article the authors reflect on the Finnish Cyber Strategy and Strategic Communications from a phenomenological perspective.

Date: 2014
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