Cyberterritory: An Exploration of the Concept


  • Jori-Pekka Rautava University of Oulu
  • Mari Ristolainen Finnish Defence Research Agency



Territorialisation of cyberspace, 'cyberterritory', cyberspace governance, digital sovereignty


What does the future of cyberspace look like? The idealistic notion of cyberspace as a 'free' and 'open' global infrastructure is progressively challenged by projecting territoriality and conveying traditional nation-state models of governance into cyberspace. The aim of this interdisciplinary paper is to examine the process of cyberspace territorialisation and to present a conceptual definition of a theoretical 'cyberterritory' as a bounded sovereign entity that operates under the jurisdiction of a certain nation-state. Firstly, we explain the different views of the cyberspace governance and summarize the latest developments in the UN's efforts to bring order over cyberspace. Secondly, we analyse the different views on 'digital sovereignty' and show how several nations have felt the need to express publicly their views on sovereignty in cyberspace. Thirdly, we discuss the possibility of new techno-economic alliances, because only few (if any) nation-states could have sufficient resources to be 'sovereign' in cyberspace. Finally, we present a conceptual definition of a theoretical 'cyberterritory' that encompasses political, legal and technical aspects. The significance of this paper is in its contribution to the discussion of future cyberspace governance by presenting a definition of a theoretical 'cyberterritory' as an entity of its own - a new nation-state 'digital terrain' of the future.