Abstract
Information security governance has become an elusive goal and a murky concept. This paper problematizes both information security governance and the broader concept of governance. What does it mean to govern information security, or for that matter, anything? Why have information technologies proven difficult to govern? And what assurances can governance provide for the billions of people who rely on information technologies every day? Drawing together several distinct bodies of literature—including multiple strands of governance theory, actor–network theory, and scholarship on sociotechnical regimes—this paper conceptualizes networked action on a spectrum from uncertain governance to governing uncertainty. I advance a twofold argument. First, I argue that networks can better govern uncertainty as they become more able not only to enroll actors in a collective agenda, but also to cut ties with those who seek to undermine that agenda. And second, I argue that the dominant conception of information security governance, which emphasizes governing uncertainty through risk management, in practice devolves to uncertain governance. This is largely because information technologies have evolved toward greater connectedness—and with it, greater vulnerability—creating a regime of insecurity. This evolution is illustrated using the history of the US government’s efforts to govern information security.
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DOI 10.1177/0162243919901159
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The Human Use of Human Beings.Norbert Wiener - 1954 - Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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