ABSTRACT

Introduction A secure cyber space is a necessity for the basic functioning of the economic, political and social structures of modern-day society. Because approximately 90 percent of what constitutes cyber space is owned by the private sector, the state has limited direct influence on cyber security. This makes cooperation mechanisms between the public and the private sector essential for the ongoing stability, growth and security of cyber space. However, such cooperation is poorly coordinated, on the international and national levels. Currently, cyber security is practiced in a neo-liberalist governance approach through multistakeholder initiatives (MSI) aimed at bringing state and non-state actors together to cooperate under indirect state rule. This approach is widely seen by the policy community as a panacea for securing cyber space, and has been implemented both nationally and internationally. In practice, however, the public-private cooperation dimension of cyber security has not been functioning adequately. The current approach, based on the idea of state facilitation of governance, has resulted in insufficient coordination of cooperation, in turn leading to unsatisfactory levels of cyber security today. This chapter examines the suitability of the current form of governance for securing cyber space through MSI, taking as its point of departure the fact that cyber space has developed in the absence of the state and has not been privatized like other fields. It is decentralized by chance, not by choice. This chapter contributes to the debate on cyber-security governance by bringing the power dynamic between the public and private sectors into the discussion-a factor that has largely been ignored till now. It is argued that MSI are not functioning in governing cyber security, as the state has failed to fulfil its role as facilitator in a neo-liberal governance mode. The chapter is not intended not as an argument against public-private cooperation, but as a call for new assessments and approaches to cyber-security governance. Rather than viewing cyber security as a state-centric issue, the state should operate as a facilitator, bringing together those in the private sector who hold the crucial power in cyber space and securing coordinated cooperation.