The President of the United States, Barack Obama, has recently been given tremendous powers to conduct cyber-warfare against percieved cyber-threats in a secret program involving the Pentagon and the National Security Administration, the CIA and the FBI.  My research proposal will deal with this new paradigm in terms of neo-liberalism, liberty, and freedom of speech as interregated by the authors used in the class.  A large cohort of government hackers will be mining the internet for data concerning international F/OSS hackers.  The loose doctrine of pre-emptive strikes that is used to justify the secret drone strikes and assassinations taking place in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Iran, (anywhere the President deems a threat to United States security interests) will be employed to rationalize cyber-warfare of possibly nuclear proportions against any percieved enemy.  I am interested in the ethical ramifications of such warfare.
Questions guiding this research will include Why this is happening? Just What is happening? Who does this affect? and Where will this lead the United States in the future? How does this effect our ethical identification as "Americans"? Is this a moral way to conduct ourselves as a nation? Methodology will include a literature review, internet mining, and possibly interview with other researchers.  I argue that cyber-warfare as pre-emptive strike should be overseen by a watchdog branch of the government in order to provide proper ethical review before involving the United States in cyber-war, its repercussions, and possible side effects on our economy, our liberty, and our freedoms.  Boyle, Coombe and Coleman, with Castells will guide me in exploring this subject. 
Lizeth Gutierrez
2/5/2013 07:11:46 am

Hey Dell,

Your research proposal sounds very interesting. I'm curious to see how you will use Boyle, Coombe, Coleman and Castells. How do you want your theoretical framework to look like? You argue for a "watchdog branch of the government in order to provide proper ethical review", I guess I am curious to see how you would integrate Boyle and Coombe's discussion of ethics into your proposed study.
How do you imagine this "watchdog branch of the government," is it a counterhegemonic production of knowledge? Does it rely solely on the government? Or are you looking at other areas of intervention?
How does privilege inform one's ethics? You talk about an "ethical review," which I think is very interesting, but I am curious to see how you will break that down, especially as you connect it to liberty and freedom. Good luck!

2/5/2013 08:04:54 am

This is a good start Dell. Can you expand your framework? You write:

"My research proposal will deal with this new paradigm in terms of neo-liberalism, liberty, and freedom of speech as interregated by the authors used in the class."

These are HUGE issues, you'll need to break them down and show how each author's work intersects and unpack each of your key terms in relation to a more focused thesis.

Rachel Sauerbier
2/10/2013 07:11:29 am

Hi Dell, this is an interesting project and I was not even aware that the government was participating in this kind of "cyber-warfare." Like Lizeth, I am interested in how you are going to apply the readings we've had in class to this issue and to also find out if there were other readings/frameworks that you were going to be drawing from. I know there was a book by Janczewski and Colarik from 2008 that talks about cyber-warfare and cyber-terrorism, but I am interested to hear what you will be drawing from as a theoretical platform. Overall, I am excited to see what your project will lead to!

Jen O'Brien
2/10/2013 11:42:50 am

Hi Dell,

Your project sounds great! One way that you might be able to make an explicit connection between the the government mining data on hackers and secret drone strikes is my looking in particular at the regulation of information and the issues of power that are implicated in it. Perhaps Boyle's emphasis on the social aspects of law and intellectual property will help you out there. Coombe also explores the ethical side of information ownership.

2/12/2013 02:34:25 am

Hiya Dell,

Really enjoy your proposal here. Timely issue with HUGE significance. Echoing comments made above, I'm wondering how you'll condense your T.F. I'm also a bit hesitant, wondering if you might be tackling a bit too much for an 8-10 research proposal. Have you conducted previous work along these lines for your dissertation?

You mentioned an interest in the ethical ramifications of cyber-warfare. Perhaps you can focus your research questions on one recent case-study, and build from there?

Really looking forward to seeing how this develops. Suerte!

2/12/2013 03:15:54 am

Hi Dell,

I was not even aware of this. OMG thats how I reacted as soon as I read your idea. I know I talk a lot about Said. I think other than our in class authors, Said would be a great place to start.

2/12/2013 06:04:14 am

Hi Dell--I think this topic is very interesting, but I'm worried about source material. Trawling the internet for stuff on this can give you a LOT of info that will be difficult to parse through, considering so much is rumor and that the government actively would not want people to know about this. How are you going about understanding what exactly is going on?


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