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Sydney Cybersecurity Network

Exploring concerns about technology, policy, and security
Cyberspace is central to modern life yet threats in this arena are not well understood. We look through the multidisciplinary lens of technology, sociology, law, media and communications to explore them.

About us

Some common concerns about cybersecurity research and policy include:

  • most work in the field is conducted in the United States, but most internet users live in the Indo-Pacific region and the Asia-Pacific region
  • empirical evidence about key concepts is in short supply
  • the study and practice of cybersecurity are fragmented.

We aim to bridge the social-technical divide as well as gaps between academia, industry, and government. We teach together. We research together. We engage with industry, government, and the public together. We are building a new community to integrate knowledge and advance research and policy across this complex field.

Our people

The Sydney Cybersecurity Network comprises academics and scholars from across the University.

Our research

Our work focuses on three main areas.

Internet, Democracy and Politics in Southeast Asia 

This cross-national study examines cybersecurity and information policies in eight countries in Southeast Asia. We are concerned with how policies and practices of information controls and censorship shape politics and democratic prospects more generally in the region. 

Gender and politics of online collaboration: A Wikipedia analysis 

In-depth analysis of Wikipedia editing activity in Southeast Asia to understand gender and political dimensions. Through survey and social network analysis, we hypothesise that Wikipedia is an important site of political resistance in an otherwise highly censored media environment. 

Digital media and political opposition in Southeast Asia 

How does the rise in digital media use provide incentives and constraints for political voice and opposition in Southeast Asia? This comparative project examines the use of information and communications technology, especially digital media, and political participation in democratic and authoritarian regimes in the region. 

Everyday social media: Culture, design, inclusion, regulation

Social media platforms are directly involved in everyday socio-cultural transformations, across intimate settings, public environments and institutions. Their rapid and widespread adoption over the past decade raises an important question: How do these technologies affect the identity, nationality, power and thus security of users in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region?   

Social media and digital citizenship 

Social media activity is now taken as a proxy for public opinion, professional expertise and audience response. But how biased is social media towards those with the motivations and capacities to develop their online sociality? This project uses a groundbreaking analytical toolset to investigate where inequities can be identified, and evaluate and their implications. 

Tracking infrastructure for social media analysis

This multiple Australian university consortium is a world-first, national-scale infrastructure project to track public social media activities across Australia. We are collecting and analysing social media user activity across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with a view to providing a baseline understanding across all three platforms for research on terrorism and social media.

Surveillant states 

Exploring the rise of the surveillant state – a state that has reinforced its traditional functions of sovereignty by turning to surveillance technologies. The United States and France have led the trend. This project examines three technologies: biometrics in the management of borders and population flows; the use of drones in foreign policy; and internet cables. 

State internet companies 

How do states with an interest in information control manage their relationship with internet companies? We are analysing three states and their associated internet companies: RuNet in Russia; Coc Coc in Vietnam; and Baidu in Thailand. These states represent a continuum of states with an interest in information control.  

Malware and disease: Cyber intelligence and public health surveillance 

Malicious software and infectious diseases are similar in several respects, as are the functional requirements for surveillance and intelligence to defend against these threats. This research compares and contrasts the actors, relationships, and norms at work in cyber intelligence and disease surveillance around the world.

International politics and the internet 

Examining how new forms of information technology are changing international relations. Internet sovereignty is an important issue for many states as they grapple with changing practices and institutions. Cyberspace represents new terrain that states are bringing under the umbrella of their security apparatus.

Organising cybersecurity in Australia

Cybersecurity requires collective action. How should this be organised and where does responsibility lie for civilian cybersecurity in a democracy such as Australia? Analysing the interpretation of cyber threats; the division of labour between the public and private sectors; and the history of international co-operation on cybersecurity across the Anglosphere and the Asia-Pacific region.

Ideology and cybersecurity

Cybersecurity depends heavily on civilian cyber defence, which is decentralised, private and voluntary. This structure has a profound impact on international security and yet its history is rarely subject to critical analysis. Why is civilian cyber defence organised this way? There are at least two plausible explanations: special interests and ideology. This project examines the influence of each during the internet's formative years.

Network law and stateless jurisdictions

This exploratory research examines our understanding of cybersecurity in stateless jurisdictions and how jurisprudential networks apply in this domain.

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Co-founder

Headshot of Dr Aim Sinpeng

Co-founder

Headshot of Dr Frank Smith

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