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Australia in the World this Week

03 Jan 2019
By Dr Darren Lim, Danielle Cave and Tom Uren

In the penultimate episode of Australia in the World for 2018, Darren interviews Danielle Cave and Tom Uren, both of whom work on cyber issues at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

The conversation (recorded in late October) steers away from the current news of the day, instead taking a macro perspective on this emerging issue. What does the term “cyber” even mean? Why should Australian policymakers, and indeed ordinary Australians, care about the issue? What are the major policy areas where attention is needed? How should we resolve the tension between the need to regulate activity in cyberspace to improve the medium and its users’ welfare, versus the risks to free flows of information and exchange that increasingly interventionist and heavy-handed governments might pose?

In the realm of international affairs, what are the major sites of contestation between major powers in cyber? How does Australia’s vision of a “open, free and secure internet” contrast with notions of “cyber sovereignty” pushed by governments such as China’s? Finally, what do we now know about the risks posed by “disinformation” using cyber means, especially with respect to elections? How are the social media companies responding, and to what extent should governments involve themselves? What might Australia’s vulnerabilities be to cyber voter interference?

Dr Darren Lim is a Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University. 

Danielle Cave is a Senior Analyst working with the International Cyber Policy Centre.

Tom Uren is a Visiting Fellow in ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre seconded from the Department of Defence.