Placing Behavior in Context: Political Interpretations of Individual Behavior in Countering Information Warfare in Finland




information warfare, individual freedoms and liberties, policy-maker view, cognitive security


Malign information influence often targets large segments of the population, with the intent to manipulate individual behavior for the benefit of the actors disseminating this harmful information. However, in a liberal society like Finland, individual behavior is closely tied to personal freedoms and liberties, making the commentary and regulation of individual behavior for the sake of security a complex endeavor. This paper investigates how Finnish politicians and officials perceive individual behavior within the context of information warfare. We examine the emergence of particular discourses that interpret, critique, and potentially seek to influence individual behavior. Our research draws from parliamentary debates and legislative documents, as well as executive branch materials, providing insight into contemporary political thought. By exploring the evolving landscape of political discourse in Finland, our paper contributes to a better understanding of the environment in which countermeasures against information warfare are developed and the roots of national security policy. It underscores the intricate challenges of safeguarding cognitive security while respecting individual freedoms in a modern democratic society.

Author Biographies

Teemu Häkkinen, University of Jyväskylä

Teemu Häkkinen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. His research interests include parliamentary history and political decision-making. He has published in journals such as European Review of History / revue européenne d histoire and Journal of Political and Military Sociology.

Hilkka Grahn, University of Jyväskylä

Hilkka Grahn is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Information Technology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research has been published in journals such as International Journal of Human–Computer Studies and Accident Analysis & Prevention. Her current research interests include cognitive security and human behavior within security contexts.