In 2021 the UK Government published its Integrated Review, detailing its foreign policy goals and objectives for the coming years (Cabinet Office, 2021). It outlined the UK Government’s clear interest in acting as a ‘force for good’ across all aspects of foreign policy, with commitments to defend universal human rights, promote gender equality, and promote effective and transparent governance. The review also highlights the UK Government’s priority in becoming a responsible and leading cyberpower, which is echoed in the 2022 National Cyber Strategy.
This toolkit looks at how these two goals overlap: as the UK Government continues to invest in cyber, how can cybersecurity prioritise human rights, equality, and transparency? To explore this question, this toolkit offers an intersectional lens as an ideal method to understand and encourage the nexus of these interests. In doing so, we provide a new vision of who cybersecurity is for: instead of the needs of the state, the focus falls to the needs of people.
This toolkit will connect the local with the global and explore how individuals experience cybersecurity issues, making the case that such an approach contributes to a prosperous digital economy and resilient state. State security, too, is automatically strengthened when the needs and safety concerns of everyday people at home and abroad are kept at the core of policy decisions and implementation.
The UK’s investment in cyberinfrastructure comes at a time when our lives are increasingly taking place in the digital sphere. During the first year of the pandemic, Ofcom reported that internet access in UK homes went up from 89% in 2019 to 94% (Ofcom, 2021). In an increasing number of countries, accessing the online world
is not a novelty but a necessity in participating fully in today’s economy and society. Different groups of people have different digital needs. For example, for immigrants who are reliant on accessing the online world to communicate with their families or to receive money, participating in the online world is requisite. The digital world
is for everyone, and cybersecurity must be designed to ensure this.