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INFORMATION WARFARE AND THE FUTURE OF THE SPY

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This article examines the impact of the new ICTs on the collection of covert intelligence and covert political actions undertaken by national intelligence agencies. It is argued that there exist two distinct doctrines in the literatures of intelligence and information warfare concerning the future relative importance of information from human sources ('agents') and technical methods (signal interception, overhead imagery and the emerging field of clandestine penetration of networked information systems). The arguments in favour of human and technical methods are examined in the context of information warfare techniques and technologies, as are covert action methods such as disinformation, disruptive action and 'cyber-sabotage'. Certain civil liberties implications of ICT-based strong encryption are also examined. The article concludes that what is required is a greater emphasis on integrating human and technical methods into a unified whole, especially where human methods can provide opportunities which can be further exploited by technical methods.
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Keywords: ACTION; COVERT; ESPIONAGE; INFOSEC; INFOWAR; INTELLIGENCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1999

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