1s and 0sReading this article makes the internet battle with the wikileaks guy, and his supporters sound like some sort of epic battle. Perhaps in an era of competing meta-narratives, or modernities, this is the sort of war which will really take place in the future. I refrain from calling this post-modern because it is strangely obsessed with a meta-narrative, which thinkers have decided is most decidedly not post-modern. What I mean is that there are two competing stories, or realities if you wish. They are not struggling to understand each other, or come to grips with the existence of a different viewpoint, but are militantly trying to overthrow the other.

The powers that be, call it America, Big-Business, Crazy Conservativism or whatever, think that WikiLeaks is making information public that it has no right to publish. That information is harming international relationships, commerce, and power structures. The information was tightly controlled by those who were using it to further their own end of hegemony. This sounds purely academic, but it works out so that in the real world spies have gathered information to try and help the “good guys” accomplish the goal of getting rid of the “bad guys.” Maybe they aren’t even getting rid of them, but are just looking for leverage to use in bargaining with them.

Then there is the loose alliance of “hackers”, “malcontents”, “truth-seekers” or whatever. They fundamentally believe that the “good guys” really aren’t so good. The good guys are just as bad as the “bad guys”, but currently have the upper hand because of their gathered information and hegemony. The group believes that if that information is no longer controlled, but becomes public then individuals will become enlightened and see that the “good guys” are not so good. In their mind, there are no “good guys”. They are like modern Robin-Hoods. They are restoring the power to the people, the individuals – at the expense of the powers that be.

All of this works out in the realm of a unique battlefield. There are no tanks. No WMDs. No Marines. Instead you have the computer-savy “hackers” wreaking havoc on the powers that be who are not really prepared for this sort of attack. There have been no documented explosions in the real physical world. But, major players have fallen (important websites have been crashed), commerce interrupted, and fear is spreading.

If this is really the information age, then perhaps this is the first real war of this type. Sure, the first War in Iraq, then the Second, and the Afghanistan War have all used technology. But this was all traditional weaponry enhanced with information technology. Now information technology IS the weapon. Hacked emails have become missiles. They do damage by presenting incriminating evidence, and representing the “good guys” in a bad light, casting doubt upon their right to power. Servers which host this information are the strongholds that a well defended city once was. The amount of security protecting the information rivals any battlements devised in the 20th century physical wars. Attacks come in the form of one’s and zero’s, attempting to get through the security and capture the prize – information, or revenue stream (in the instance of paypal, mastercard and visa).

Could this be a transition to a new sort of warfare and a new development in the age of information?

One comment on “New type of warefare, cyberwar

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