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Information and Security

Research about the importance of information and communication to statecraft and security

The control of information flows is an important determinant of geopolitical outcomes. As technological change has vastly expanded the capacity to communicate and store information, states have been confronted with new opportunities, but also with new vulnerabilities. While communication technologies enable new forms of cross-border communication and political participation, recent years have seen rising concerns about disinformation and fake news.

The intimate connection between information and security, however, goes further back than the ICT revolution. The spread of propaganda was facilitated by the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, which undermined established information monopolies and contributed to social and political upheaval. In the twentieth century, radio and audiovisual media became crucial to the exercise of political power.

Today, information warfare is integral to so-called hybrid warfare. In peacetime, states engage in public diplomacy to build legitimacy and to promote their interests and values. New communication technologies have also created a potential for election meddling and digital espionage, unsavory aspects of an information environment in which it is imperative to develop countermeasures that strengthen resilience and capacities for psychological defense.

To enhance understanding of these phenomena, CSSC supports research on the following topics:

  • Propaganda and disinformation
  • Information warfare, psychological operations, and their role in hybrid warfare
  • Psychological defense
  • Intelligence and counterintelligence
  • Historical studies of how messages and communication systems have impacted political events and international relations