The Digital Society in the 21st Century: Security Issue


Digitalization is thought to be a key driver of recent economic, cultural, political, and society transformations, with these changes entailing both positive and negative consequences. The negative ones include various risks and threats for information security of both society and state. As a result, there has been growing impetus to rethink the concept of security in the digital age. In this paper the discourse of security is discussed in terms of dichotomy between soft and hard power in a digitalized society. This discussion involves the following issues to be considered: 1) how this soft/hard range of power can be applied to the security problem; 2) how different information threats could be countered within the discourse of the state security; 3) how the soft security could be implemented in a digitalized society. Structured analysis, discourse analysis and conceptual approach are mainly involved to provide research methodology for the discussion. It should be noted that our research is conducted within theoretical framework established by B. Buzan, J. Nye, with the acknowledgment of the results obtained from the previous studies of the authors of this paper. The concept of security was productively discussed in terms of soft and hard power vocabulary. As a result of this discussion, soft security was interpreted as the measure of protecting something from harm in invisible, unobtrusive ways, whether hard security was designed to oppose challenges and threats and it is traditionally associated with methods of force. It was particularly established that hard security measures are likely to be applied in the military sector, while soft security measures are commonly used in a non-military context. Due to the concept of soft security has not yet been clearly defined and has not received recognition as a scientific term, it is argued that further investigation is demanded. Within this investigation, information security is interpreted as a special category of soft security. The relevant distinction between information security and cybersecurity is made, with the different frequency of using these terms in official discourses of different states being explained. It is also considered that the problems of soft security insurance cannot be solved at the level of individual states due to the transnational nature of digital technology, so it requires international responses. Therefore, establishing the normative force (i.e. elaboration of international rules and institutions) can be an effective measure, while an international exchange of experience in countering information threats seems to be very useful. Educational programs aimed both at creating qualified personnel in the field of digital technologies, as well as at the general public (improving information literacy), also contribute to ensuring the safety of society and the state.

Keywords: information security, digital society, soft security, international relationships, cybersecurity

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