A Review of Value-Conflicts in Cybersecurity

An assessment based on quantitative and qualitative literature analysis

Cybersecurity is of capital importance in a world where economic and social processes increasingly rely on digital technology. Although the primary ethical motivation of cybersecurity is prevention of informational or physical harm, its enforcement can also entail conflicts with other moral values. This contribution provides an outline of value conflicts in cybersecurity based on a quantitative literature analysis and qualitative case studies. The aim is to demonstrate that the security-privacy-dichotomy—that still seems to dominate the ethics discourse based on our bibliometric analysis—is insufficient when discussing the ethical challenges of cybersecurity. Furthermore, we want to sketch how the notion of contextual integrity could help to better understand and mitigate such value conflicts.


Markus Christen, University of Zurich

Bert Gordijn, DCU

Karsten Weber, Brandenburg University

Ibo van de Poel, Delft University of Technology

Emad Yaghmaei, Delft University of Technology



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