The international political economy of the hack: A closer look at markets for cybersecurity software Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 Taylor & Francis. This article examines the development of hacking and cybersecurity software packages as commodities, based on an international political economy of vendors and clients operating in the interstices of international law. Offensive hacking and defensive cybersecurity tools offer new means for surveillance of critics, journalists, and human rights workers, especially in corrupt or authoritarian political systems. The article provides a case study of the Hacking Team, an international cybersecurity firm offering spyware and surveillance systems to government security agencies, which was itself hacked and doxed in 2015. The leak of documents contributes new knowledge of an international political economy for software products, which exploits the digital rights of targets and which could further undermine general Internet security.

published proceedings

  • Popular Communication

altmetric score

  • 5

author list (cited authors)

  • Burkart, P., & McCourt, T.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Burkart, Patrick||McCourt, Tom

publication date

  • January 2017