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Sheltering from cyber insecurity? A comparative analysis of New Zealand and Singapore

Although there is increasing academic research on cybersecurity, very few scholars have investigated the cybersecurity approaches of small states, particularly those in the AsiaPacific region. This thesis attempts to contribute to the ongoing discussion by analysing how New Zealand and Singapore, as two important small states in the Asia-Pacific, are seeking shelter from cyber insecurity. Drawing upon small state and shelter theory literature, the thesis begins by outlining the key concepts and arguments that guide small state behaviour in the international security environment. These theoretical and conceptual understandings are applied to New Zealand and Singapore’s cybersecurity approaches. It is argued that the small states face significant resource challenges necessary to address cyber issues. Given the transboundary nature of the cyber phenomenon, it becomes apparent that domestically focused foreign policy is insufficient to attain cybersecurity. The thesis then explores the role of international and regional arrangements of strategic importance to New Zealand and Singapore to facilitate cyber cooperation. The thesis finds that larger powers, regional and international arrangements, and the use of internationally recognised rules and norms provide New Zealand and Singapore shelter from cyber insecurity. Ultimately, the nature and degree of shelter acquired is informed by New Zealand and Singapore’s existing capabilities and capacity to respond to cyber threats.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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