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Cyberspace is one of the great legal frontiers of our time.[1]

Origin of the term Edit

The term cyberspace (also spelled cyber-space) was coined by science fiction author William Gibson in a short story Burning Chrome, and later used in his novel Neuromancer (1984). It refers to the virtual world created within a computer and the network to which it is attached (also called a "computer-generated reality"). It includes the internal computer memory and wiring, and the networks to which the computer is connected. He called cyberspace a "consensual hallucination":

A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the non-space of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding.[2]

The prefix "cyber" is derived from the Greek word kybernan, which means to steer or control.

Online systems, for example, create a cyberspace within which people can communicate with one another (via e-mail), do research or simply window shop. Like physical space, cyberspace contains objects (files, e-mail messages, graphics, etc.) and different modes of transportation and delivery. Unlike real space, though exploring cyberspace does not require any physical movement other than pressing keys on a keyboard or moving a mouse.

Some programs, particularly virtual worlds, are designed to create a special form of cyberspace, one that resembles physical reality in some ways but defies it in others. Users are presented with visual, auditory, and even tactile feedback that makes cyberspace feel real.

Definitions Edit

U.S. Supreme Court Edit

As stated by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, in her concurring and dissenting opinion in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union:[3]

Because it is no more than the interconnection of electronic pathways, cyberspace allows speakers and listeners to mask their identities. Cyberspace undeniably reflects some form of geography; chat rooms and Web sites, for example, exist at fixed "locations" on the Internet. Since users can transmit and receive messages on the Internet without revealing anything about their identities or ages . . ., however, it is not currently possible to exclude persons from accessing certain messages on the basis of their identity. Cyberspace differs from the physical world in another basic way: Cyberspace is malleable. Thus, it is possible to construct barriers in cyberspace and use them to screen for identity, making cyberspace more like the physical world and, consequently, more amenable to zoning laws. This transformation of cyberspace is already underway. * * * Internet speakers (users who post material on the Internet) have begun to zone cyberspace itself through the use of 'gateway' technology.

Presidential Directive Edit

The National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD-54/HSPD-23) defines cyberspace as

the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, and includes the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries. Common usage of the term also refers to the virtual environment of information and interactions between people.

U.S. military Edit

The U.S. military defines cyberspace variously as

the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, and includes the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries.[4]
[a] global domain within the information environment consisting of the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag.
an operational domain whose distinctive and unique character is framed by the use of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum to create, store, modify, exchange and exploit information via interconnected information-communication technology (ICT) based systems and their associated infrastructures.[5]
[the] environment created by the confluence of cooperative networks of computers, information systems, and telecommunication infrastructures commonly referred to as the Internet and the World Wide Web.[6]
a physical domain resulting from the creation of information systems and networks that enable electronic interactions to take place. . . . Cyberspace is a man-made environment for the creation, transmittal, and use of information in a variety of formats. . . . Cyberspace consists of electronically powered hardware, networks, operating systems and transmission standards.[7]

The National Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations identifies the following characteristics of cyberspace:

Other definitions Edit

Cyberspace is

[a] global domain within the information environment consisting of the interdependent network of IT and ICS infrastructures, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers.[8]
[the] nervous system — the control system of the country . . . composed of hundreds of thousands of interconnected computers, servers, routers, switches, and fiber optic cables that allow our critical infrastructures to work.[9]
that intangible place between computers where information momentarily exists on its route from one end of the global network to the other . . . the ethereal reality, an infinity of electrons speeding down copper or glass fibers at the speed of light. . . . Cyberspace is borderless . . . [but also] think of cyberspace as being divided into groups of local or regional cyberspace — hundreds and millions of smaller cyberspaces all over the world.[10]
distinct entities, with clearly defined electronic borders. . . . Small-C cyberspaces consist of personal, corporate or organizational spaces. . . . Big-C cyberspace is the National Information Infrastructure . . . add [both] and then tie it all up with threads of connectivity and you have all of cyberspace.[11]
[t]he interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, that includes the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers.[12]
consists of artifacts based on or dependent on computing and communications technology; the information that these artifacts use, store, handle, or process; and the interconnections among these various elements.[13]

Overview Edit

First, cyberspace is not a physical place, although many elements of cyberspace are indeed physical, do have volume and mass, and are located at points in physical space that can be specified in three spatial dimensions. Second, cyberspace includes but is not limited to the Internet — cyberspace also includes computers (some of which are attached to the Internet and some not) and networks (some of which may be part of the Internet and some not). Third, cyberspace includes many intangibles, such as information and software and how different elements of cyberspace are connected to each other.[14]

Cyberspace is a defining feature of modern life. Individuals and communities worldwide connect, socialize, and organize themselves in and through cyberspace. From 2000 to 2010, global Internet usage increased from 360 million to over 2 billion people. As Internet usage continues to expand, cyberspace will become increasingly woven into the fabric of everyday life across the globe.

U.S. and international businesses trade goods and services in cyberspace, moving assets across the globe in seconds. In addition to facilitating trade in other sectors, cyberspace is itself a key sector of the global economy. Cyberspace has become an incubator for new forms of entrepreneurship, advances in technology, the spread of free speech, and new social networks that drive our economy and reflect our principles. The security and effective operation of U.S. critical infrastructure — including energy, banking and finance, transportation, communication, and the Defense Industrial Base — rely on cyberspace, industrial control systems, and information technology that may be vulnerable to disruption or exploitation.

Visualization Edit

"Figure 1 demonstrates one way of visualizing the complexity of cyberspace. It separates cyberspace into three layers: the physical layer (i.e. hardware such as submarine and ethernet cables, routers and switching devices), the logical layer (i.e. software or lines of code that allows the hardware to function and communicate), and the social layer (or the cyber-persona layer) (i.e. interaction between online personas that represent people or, increasingly, machines). These three layers are fundamental to the core functions of cyberspace, and they are continuing to grow in diversity, richness and complexity."[15]

Cyberspace5

References Edit

  1. Global Strategic Report, at 14.
  2. William Gibson, Neuromancer 69 (1984).
  3. 521 U.S. 844, 889-90 (1997) (full-text).
  4. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, "The Definition of Cyberspace" (Policy Letter) (May 12, 2008). He also declared his definition to be the official definition of cyberspace "until further notice." U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, "The Definition of 'Cyberspace'" (Policy letter) (May 12, 2009).
  5. Daniel T. Kuehl, "From Cyberspace to Cyberpower: Defining the Problem," in Cyberpower and National Security 48 (Franklin D. Kramer, Stuart H. Starr & Larry K. Wentz, eds. 2009) (full-text).
  6. Walter Gary Sharp, CyberSpace and the Use of Force 15 (1999).
  7. Greg Rattray, Strategic Warfare in Cyberspace 17, 65 (2001).
  8. Electricity Subsector Cybersecurity Risk Management Process, at 63.
  9. National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.
  10. Winn Schwartau, "Information Warfare: Chaos on the Electronic Superhighway" 49, 327 (1994).
  11. Winn Schwartau, "Information Warfare," at 71, 641-42 (2d ed. 1996).
  12. NICCS, Explore Terms: A Glossary of Common Cybersecurity Terminology (full-text).
  13. At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues, at 8-9.
  14. At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues, at 8.
  15. Cyber Security and Global Interdependence: What Is Critical?, at 5. See also Department of Defense, Joint Publication 3-12, Cyberspace Operations (Feb. 5, 2013).

Source Edit

See also Edit

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