Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

James Popham

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Nikolai Kovalev

Advisor Role

Second Reader


In an era of rapid technological change, the growing threat environment in the cyber dimension will continue to influence how a sovereign nation contends with attacks that can occur from any corner of the world. The growing adaptation and expansion of technology belonging to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the increasing prevalence of social media (Facebook, Twitter) has also influenced the spreading of attack surfaces that can become victim to exploitation by motivated parties including foreign states and terrorist groups. Against this backdrop, Canada’s own efforts to modernize and reinforce its own national security agencies resulted in the developing and royal assent of 2017’s Bill C-59: An Act Respecting National Security Matters. The royal assent of C-59 poses a unique opportunity to examine the underlying narratives and evidence used by expert witnesses and committee members alike to frame the threat that the cyber environment has when influencing C-59’s more controversial measures. This includes the expansion of the Communication Security Establishment’s (CSE) traditional 3-part mandate to include the use of cyberoperations, or the expansion of Canada’s nation security agencies to utilize the loosely defined “public datasets” despite concerns of possible misappropriation. Utilizing Popham’s (2018) Theory of Microdeviation, this thesis highlights the normalized experiences of Canadians online when considering the exploitation of IoT technology and social media to conduct attacks or sabotage against democratic states, and how these narratives were often used to advance C59’s modernization push. Finally, this thesis also analyzes the implications of C-59 when considering the international community as it relates to a growing cyber arms race akin to 20th century Cold War fears, and how Microdeviation Theory has utility when examining the goals of legislation seeking to control deviant behaviour online.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season