Research Portfolio Post #2: Mentor Meeting

I met with Dr Rovner on September 5thfor 30 minutes to talk about my research project and the puzzles involved with it and, honestly, the conversation was extremely helpful. Overall, the conversation can be broken down into for main parts: the militarization of the internet, intelligence services and the internet, global projection vs national interest, and alarmist sources.

With the militarization aspect, we realized that perhaps developing a framework for legislation was too ambitious and the question that should instead be asked is how the military utilizes the internet in the modern age. The main utilization is communications but there exists a reluctance to completely use internet communiques instead of radio and direct line due to a variety of factors from false signals to data interception. For this question, I think I would employ a small-n or a large-n research practice to get empirical data on different services and sub-groups.

The Intelligence services and global projection vs national interest sections fall into relatively the same category in my opinion. For example, the United States, since the early nineties, has been a proponent of a free and fair internet that is universally accessible and safe. The question which can then be asked is how the United States intelligence services utilizes the internet vs foreign intelligence services in the context of global power projection vs national interest. For example, China has no qualms employing malware and trojan horses as it is in their national interest to do so, but the United States is attempting to remain the internet hegemon without sacrificing their normative values.

Finally, we talked about how many of the sources on cyberterrorism could be classified as alarmist as they present the worst possible scenario to their audience. This reminded me of the normative vs positivist research styles, and it has also pushed me toward thinking in a more positivist style in order to avoid, or at least give context to, sources which lean toward alarmism.

Moving forward with my project, I am either going to refocus it on how the military or intelligence services employ the internet to further their goals. Dr Rovner also showed me a source for US CyberCom which outlines the practices and methodologies of the Unites States as of 2019. I think I am going to employ positivist and small-n/ large-n research models as I think they will work best too.