An argument for a comprehensive definition of cyberspace

Contention: There is a contention that cyber is the electromagnetic spectrum and that point is countered by a position that cyber is larger than or composed of more than the electromagnetic spectrum. The proponents of the electromagnetic spectrum say that cyber is defined by the electromagnetic spectrum.

Why this is important: Coming to a conclusion on this rudimentary aspect of cyber will define where it is controlled, the primary regulating agency, legal and procedural policies, rights and duties of who acts within the domain of cyber space, plans, operational concepts, strategies, and treaty and negotiation practices for working within cyber. How cyber is defined will decide how it is considered legally.

Argument against: In contravention to the position that cyberspace is defined by the electromagnetic spectrum the following points are offered for your consideration.

1) The argument of EM as the defining element of cyber space and the rudimentary nature is similar to the arguments made by physicists that their science is the prime science and other disciplines like chemistry are mere engineering of physics principles. A similar spurious argument could be made that there is anthropology and that history is nothing but anthropology of previous events.  However there are other disciplines not defined by physics such as logic and art. The defining concept and discipline chosen effect the empirical standards applied and standards of proof conceived when attempting to define aspects of cyberspace.

2) Inherently focusing on the EM spectrum is focusing on the transmission aspect of cyberspace and ignoring other aspects. I only need one example to break the model proposed but I offer two that are outside of the EM spectrum.  Example 1: Storage of data does not require the EM spectrum. Hollerith cards are one example, bubble memory is another, and finally the ubiquitous CD/DVD ROM are not EM devices.  Example 2: Processing does not require the EM spectrum. Babbages original computer is one example, analog computers found in cash registers is another example and finally Quantum computing is a third. Before you jump on Quantum being EM that would be in error. The EM spectrum is made up of quanta and as such are below the threshold previously set by proponents of EM spectrum as being cyberspace.

3) Proponents of the EM spectrum have not addressed the context, content, and cognitive elements that are central to the construction of cyber space as a domain humans are aware of. This is a central theme to the cyber domain as defined by Norbert Wiener and subsequent authors, researchers, and proponents of cyberspace. As defined by Norbert Wiener the cybernetic problem is defined by the man-machine interface not the interface alone. It is inherent in the domain that it is the melding of human and machine, not the existence of a singular technical or physical manifestation, that makes cyberspace possible. Policy and regulatory constructs will be chosen on whether regulating the machine or the man. It is important to recognize this aspect as cyber physical systems, medical devices, prosthetics, and more become inherent elements of the human.

4) Focusing on one aspect of cyberspace (EMS) creates a strategic and conceptual blind spot to leadership. It also has a tendency to focus consideration of risk via threats and vulnerabilities on transmission mechanisms. Thus ignoring supply chains, social and political interactions, and relying on a technical solutions for domain issues that would be better served through other traditional governance structures found in other domains. Current military practices already ignore threat & vulnerability vectors such as virtual worlds (technical featured collective delusions). Military theorists appear to ignore the real issues of command, control, coordination human rights, and fiduciary transactions that creep out into the real world from virtual constructs. Though low yield threats they are not EMS issues but are facilitated through a variety of behaviors. Focusing on EMS ignores the human in the loop and limits the domain to a technical construct that may be abandoned in the future. Other than Quantum computing, chemical based computers (think nano-tech and other larger examples), and the likelihood of biologic computing that is possible in the near future (manipulation of DNA as a storage mechanism) EMS may become a much smaller aspect of cyberspace.

A few will denigrate, ignore, or miss the point or importance of the discussion. There are also political forces that have roles that may be challenged or refuted if cyberspace is considered in a more comprehensive way. There are some who will state that future technologies should not be considered but every technology listed exists in some form already today. The science of cyberspace should be inclusive and consider the entirety of the domain. Militarization of cyberspace has stagnated and corrupted the consideration of the domain in such a way as to ignore aspects that are not within the mission of military planners. Unfortunately adversaries get a vote too and the seams ignored are the points of attack that will be chosen. Understanding the seams between domains is very important for creating a resilient and holistic solution for all users in cyberspace.

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