Online security: What's in a name?

Anat Biletzki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article motions to a real contradiction between online security and civil rights. It traverses semantic and conceptual elaborations of both security and human rights, narrowing their range to national security and human rather than civil rights, and suggests that the concept of security itself, whether online or not, is a rhetorical instrument in the hands of interested parties, mostly states and militaries. This instrument is used to undermine human rights precisely by means of its association and even identification with military and national settings. Asking whether the same ethics applies in the case of online security (vs. human rights), our tentative conclusion is that a similar moral determination rules in the case of online security, which may be exponentially more complex, but no less ethically compelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-410
Number of pages14
JournalPhilosophy and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Human rights
  • Meaning as use
  • Online security
  • Rhetoric


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