On #WeaponizationOfInformation

I have written on the New Security Agenda here and the need for African countries to conceptualize security on this basis that is also famously (in academia) known as Copenhagen School of Thought. I once argued that Tanzania should securitize education– when secondary failing rates were alarmingly high. Without wasting much words,  the New Security Agenda goes beyond tradition security perception and widened security threats to include diseases, poverty, hunger, financial crises, etc.  Something is identified as a security threat when the State takes an extra-ordinary action to respond to a certain rising problem.

Increasingly Information is becoming a security threat. It is, actually, a double aged security phenomenon– both as a threat but also a weapon. States are now weaponizing information. We have heard of how Russia, for example, is accused of interfering into the USA elections. The basis for this accusation is information – information passed through unconventional means- social media.   Of course authoritarian states, from time immemorial, have understood the strength of information and have used it as a mobilization and controlling tool. Authoritarian states control information by ensuring limited access to information and state-ownership of information. When a state takes extra-ordinary measures to control information, it is high time to note that information is being securitized and weaponized.  Thinking from a strategic point of view, in this context a state can be said to be security-wise or security competent when it can weaponize information for its foreign policy goals as opposed to narrow domestic power thirsty influences.  For example, if it is true that Russia interfered the USA elections, it would have been fair to categorize it as security smart. The problem is, Russia also controls information for its own citizens- & this is probably the reasons why we don’t hear of much innovation from Russia as compared to other countries- even those that were formally part of it.

The weaponization of information is another factor that highlights the constant technological revolution that we are currently in. The world is undergoing a revolution- driven by technology. In this revolution, the weapons are neither guns nor nuclear, neither people on boots- the weapon is information. Every one can be a soldier- but the kinds of boots to wear are not those of feet but of brain.

Any state that would want to develop and compete in this revolutionary context, it should loosen up access to information –  so that people can work out their brains- ready to fight in the current global wide borderless economic war led by technology and brain power.


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