Borders in Cyberspace

Friday, November 9, 2018 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST

As part of the Cybersecurity and International Affairs Workshops by the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute and the Balsillie School of International Affairs

Amaël Cattaruzza - Professor, Université Paris-Sorbonne

At first glance, talking about borders in cyberspace may seem paradoxical. Cyberspace is indeed a transnational communication network and is, by its nature, a transborder infrastructure. In the 90’s, the rise of Internet was generally associated with the process of globalization and the idea of the “Global Village” (Mc Luhan). During the last decade, two phenomena have changed this political representation of cyberspace as a neutral transborder domain: the rise of cyberthreats (Estonia has been the first example of State attack in 2007) and the awareness of the technical hegemony of United States (the Snowden revelations has highlighted the consequences of this domination on States and its populations). This change of the representation explains why many States and organizations have built their own policies, in order to protect what they conceive to be their national or regional “territory” in cyberspace. Thus, territorialization processes have emerged at the level of States and regional organizations in response to the American hyperpower in this field. This presentation will point out that these processes are expressed in different ways, through technical achievements (construction of physical infrastructure - datacenters, cables - or logic - national applications in terms of search engines, social networks, etc.), industrial competition (promotion of a national or regional industry to counterbalance the GAFAM), legal responses (datalocation measures) or symbolic acts (boycotts, denunciations, etc.). International relations have changed and have shaped the contemporary cyberspace.


Amaël Cattaruzza is a researcher at the Centre de Recherches des Ecoles de Coëtquidan (CREC Saint-Cyr). He teaches International Relations and Geopolitics at the St Cyr Military Academy. He holds a PhD in Political Geography from the University Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). He has recently published the "Atlas des Guerres et Conflits" (Autrement, 2014), and co-authored with Pierre Sintès "Géographie des conflits" (Bréal, 2011), and the "Atlas géopolitique des Balkans" (Autrement, 2012). He has co-edited with Didier Danet "La cyberdéfense." (Economica, 2014) and with Elisabeth Dorier the edition of the French journal Hérodote (Journal of Geopolitics) entitled "Post-conflit : entre guerres et paix ? " (to be published). He has also written many articles for academic journals. His recent works are focused on the question of border security and sovereignty.