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Media technology, covert action, and the politics of exposure

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- Enablers
- Challenges

- Internet for Democracy
- Internet Or Digital Rights and Freedoms
- Internet Safety

Author(s): Michael F Joseph; Michael Poznansky

We argue that access to information and communications technologies (ICTs) is a critical factor that increases the chances that a covert mission will be exposed. As a result, leaders are much less likely to reach for the quiet option when a potential target has dense ICT networks. The core finding, that leaders are less likely to pursue covert action relative to alternative options when the chances of exposure are high, holds across five distinct measures of ICT networks as well as different model specifications and placebo tests. Our findings suggest that Cold War-style covert operations may well be a thing of the past in an age where communication and media technologies have proliferated to the far corners of the globe.


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