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Interrogating the Cybersecurity Development Agenda: A Critical Reflection


The intertwinement between innovation, the expansion of digital technologies and insecurity has contributed to the surfacing of concerns related to the development of cyber capacities and capabilities, that is, having the means to respond to cyber insecurity through the mobilisation of technological, human, strategic and economic resources. While some scholars have engaged critically with the concept of ‘cyber capacities’, most of the literature remains associated with the consolidation of a positive agenda on the topic. Drawing on literature from International Relations, international political economy and development studies, an analysis is offered of the formation of an international development agenda for cybersecurity, looking specifically at the consequences of the articulation of the concept of cyber capacities (what is necessary, acceptable, desirable and innovative in responding to cyber threats) as a key driver for setting particular visions for what ‘being capable’ and ‘developed’ is. This also contributes to a critical assessment of the inequalities and power asymmetries embedded in such development projects, with a particular focus on Global South countries.
Keywords: cyber capacity-building (CCB); cybersecurity; development; critical cybersecurity studies