The Role of the State in Cyberspace

In what way is the term “cyber” distinct from anything digital? And how should we think about the role of the state in “cyber”? This paper puts forward a provisional definition for “cyber”, and proceeds to analyze the three distinct roles the state plays in the cybernetic domain: user, superuser and regulator. It then proceeds to focus on one role – the regulator – and outlines the different axes through which cyber may be regulated. Each axis raises its own challenges (within a given jurisdiction as well as transnationally), but offers some opportunities. The paper concludes with highlighting the importance of maintaining alignment between these axes, in order to avoid unintended interference.