As one of the engines of modern globalization, the internet is perceived as having broken down barriers between cultures, ideologies and societies, and created a “democratization of technology.” An analogy generated by this perception is that cyberspace is a “global common” similar to the oceanic “high seas” to which individuals and nations can (or at least should) maintain equal and unfettered access. Not only is this analogy incorrect, its usage makes it is hard for political decision-makers to grasp the enormity of the threat to American infrastructure, global trade, and current prosperity posed by our cyber vulnerabilities. The reality is that authoritarian governments—with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the lead—have transformed the cyber “global common” into “territorial seas” in which others pass unmolested only at their sufferance, and to which access can be denied. Unfortunately, once an analogy takes hold in the popular or academic minds, it becomes the central core of explanation and defies most logical counter-arguments. The analogy of cyberspace as a global common must be killed and replaced if decision-makers are to comprehend the future of the medium, which is not a return to unfettered global access. We must clearly admit that cyber activity sails on a mosaic of adjoining territorial seas, not a vast, open ocean. Cyberspace is a nationalizing and militarizing environment of coast guards and forward outposts. This different analogy will assist in creating a mind-set that helps insure that Western democratic infrastructure does not go down with the digital ship.
Tangredi, Sam J.
"From Global Commons to Territorial Seas: A Naval Analogy for the Nationalization of Cyberspace,"
Military Cyber Affairs: Vol. 3
, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/mca/vol3/iss1/5