Developments in the realm of digital technology have permeated contentious political processes in profound ways. From Ukraine to Hong Kong, digital communication technology has amplified grievances and helped citizens mobilise against repressive rulers. At the same time, governments across the world are steadily expanding their arsenal of technological tools to surveil, manipulate and censor information and promote social control. At the international level, cyber espionage, foreign election interference and network-based attacks are becoming increasingly ubiquitous.
At the Centre for International Security we study the interplay between digital technology and topics related to conflict and security. We specialise in questions pertaining to state behaviour in the digital sphere, taking into account the strategic advantage state forces have in controlling critical infrastructure. Research questions include: How does Internet access influence the dynamics of political violence? How do repressive states manipulate digital technology as part of their broader efforts at controlling their domestic population? What does strategic use of social media look like in the context of armed conflict? How do governments use social media platforms, in particular when faced with increasing domestic opposition?
Anita Gohdes is Professor of International and Cyber Security at the Hertie School. Her research focuses on contentious politics in the cyber realm, with a current emphasis on large-scale quantitative analyses of state behaviour.