Technologies and time tempers: how things mediate a state’s (cyber vulnerability) disclosure practices

Clare Louise Stevens

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State secrecy and disclosure practices are often treated as processes of intentional and strategic human agency, and as forms of political time management (Bok 1982; Horn 2011). Through a critical analysis of the United States government’s disclosure practices in the context of their discourse around the cybersecurity ‘Vulnerabilities Equities Process’ (VEP), this paper will present a two-fold argument against these conventional treatments of secrecy and disclosure. While government secrecy and disclosure can certainly be understood as a form of (agential) timing, orientation and control (Hom, 2018), this paper will also show how government secrecy practices are emergent at the point of relations with the structuring (but not over-determining) temporalities of various technologies. More than just the procedural containment of information, in which time and technologies feature as passive substrates, the paper will instead help scholars explore the ways that technologies and their times actively mediate the production of secrecy, disclosure and knowledge. By shifting beyond linear conceptions of cause-and effect, the paper will therefore theorize the understudied but important temporal dynamics of disclosure, thereby allowing for richer conceptualizations of the role of digital technologies in contemporary secrecy practices.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages58
JournalSecrecy and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2023


  • cybersecurity
  • disclosure
  • mediation
  • secrecy
  • technologies
  • temporality
  • U.S. National Security Agency
  • Vulnerabilities Equities Process


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