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Infocon Magazine Issue One, October 2003

Measuring 'Digital Wars': Learning From The Experience of Peace Research and Arms Control

Giampiero Giacomello, Department of Political Science, University of Bologna, Italy


Are 'digital wars'(or, Computer Networks Operations in military-speak) ‘real’? Can they really cause economic damage and loss of lives? Can poor countries use them to integrate or even, following Sun Tzu, to replace more expensive weapons systems? If the answers are positive, then it should be possible to measure cyberwars. In democratic countries, it should be even possible to compare different measurements and include the public in an open discussion. But research on digital wars takes place in closed laboratories and feeding public opinion with unverifiable data and the media with “ad hoc” anecdotes seem common developments in several countries.

This exploratory research offers an index to measure a type of information war as well as some suggestions on why a public debate on this crucial issue is necessary and how it might proceed. It does so relying on the experience of arms control and peace research scholars that during the Cold War had to face the same obstacles.

Measuring Digital Wars Paper

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