Attribution from Behind the Veil of Ignorance

November 14, 2016 Topic: Security Region: Americas Tags: CybersecurityJusticeTechnologyInternetPhilosophy

Attribution from Behind the Veil of Ignorance

Rawls's theory of justice as fairness is the most well-balanced in accounting for social justice and security culture needs.

However, recipients that disclose such information are not immune themselves, for in this digital ecosystem, an actor’s true attributes are only as secure as the other party’s attributes. Thus, as Professor Shapiro explains, the Rawlsian standpoint of justice becomes “the standpoint of the least advantaged person.”

As this article has highlighted, there is a curious duality to this system that is fed from both a parochial self-interest, as well as a collective security interest. In summary, the perfect selective attribution system is the best positioned to balance the competing interests of all cyber stakeholders. And from Friedrich Nietzsche’s observation that “out of chaos comes order,” similarly here, a veil of ignorance approach to the “attribution challenge,” offers promise for order in cyberspace.

Jessica “Zhanna” Malekos Smith is a postdoctoral fellow with the Belfer Center's Cyber Security Project at the Harvard Kennedy School. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College and J.D. from the University of California, Davis School of Law. Malekos Smith is a M.A. candidate in International Relations and Contemporary War at King's College London, War Studies.

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