Taiwan's Security in CyberspaceA Critical Perspective

Authors Organisations
Type

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Gary Rawnsley
Award date2018
Links
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Abstract

This thesis investigates the interplay between international politics and cyberspace, and explains how Taiwan's cybersecurity policy was formed prior to 2016. It examines how politics can shape or reshape the future direction of technologies. By using Taiwan as the object of the case study, the central research question is, "How is Taiwan counterbalancing China's rising power in cyberspace and what are the implications?"

The investigation for the first part of the research question provides a general account of issues affecting Taiwan's practice of cybersecurity policy via a constructivist approach. While I do not deny the technology determinist's logic that new technology can drive the way of politics, the empirical observations from Taiwan focus our attention on a different perspective, that politics can still reshape future direction and the use of technology. It explains to us through the case of Taiwan how politics trump both technical decisions and direction of technology, and further exposes the underlying knowledge structure within Taiwanese policy makers' "world." While this knowledge structure, as a form of theory, constitutes the world we live in, the second part of the research question scrutinizes this taken-for-granted knowledge structure. I challenge well-accepted assumptions regarding cyberwarfare to investigate its limitations and explore its problematic effects within the context of Taiwan. By using the principles of Critical Security Studies, I argue that an alternative conceptualization of cybersecurity can still embrace the security end that Taiwan intends to achieve, and propose a critical strategy to engage Taiwan's security challenge while avoiding adverse consequences from cyberwarfare. Looking closely at the case of Taiwan's cybersecurity contributes to the broader International Relations (IR) literature concerning the effects of norms and interest, and extends a constructivist approach to the domain of cyberspace. It also allows knowledge in Cybersecurity Studies to establish a dialogue with IR literature, and reduces the knowledge gap of Taiwan's cybersecurity in Taiwan studies.

This project was conducted via interdisciplinary approaches situated at the intersection of IR, Cybersecurity Studies, and Taiwan Studies, and is a timely reminder of the need to examine Taiwan's security with a more contemporary,
localized, and theoretically-grounded framework that will help policymakers understand the new challenges that they face in the 21st Century. It is a discourse of resistance to the current discussions that centre on cyberwarfare and instead turns our attention to true cybersecurity.

Keywords

  • Taiwan, Cybersecurity, Cyberwarfare

Documents

  • Yau_Hon-min

    Thesis, 3 MB, PDF

    Embargo end date: 31 Dec 2099

    Embargo reason: Data Protection/Confidentiality

Documents

  • Yau_Hon-min

    Thesis, 3 MB, PDF

    Embargo end date: 31 Dec 2099

    Request copy