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Marcel Stolz

Personal photo - Marcel Stolz

Mr Marcel Stolz

Doctoral Student

Leaving date: 22nd March 2024

Completed Projects:


I wrote my thesis on Neutrality and Cyberspace and submitted it in Michaelmas 2022. 
My thesis examines the impact of the emergence of cyberspace on the concept of neutrality. It understands neutrality as a political idea applied to a country’s foreign policy and is defined in international law but also through precedent and international norms. Due to the lack of completeness of neutrality-related literature, a significant contribution of my thesis is the formulation of a taxonomy and basic principles of conventional neutrality theory before it pursues an exploration of how cyberspace affects state neutrality.
A central hypothesis concerning conventional state neutrality, which is formulated in my thesis, is that state neutrality contributes both to the international stability of the global community and the national security of the implementing country. My research indicates that this hypothesis is true for conventional neutrality theory as well as when considering the influence of cyberspace. With respect to cyberspace, neutrality may even be seen as a de-escalative element, which counteracts the escalative intuition of Buchanan’s cybersecurity dilemma. This finding results from a case study covering the RUAG Hack in 2016, a cyberattack on a government-owned defence contractor in Switzerland.
My thesis also formulates the concept of platform neutrality, which is applicable to large and internationally operating social media companies. The formulation of this concept illustrates that neutrality might also be relevant when applied to non-state actors in a post-Westphalian system of global conflict and cooperation. My thesis puts these considerations into relation to the popular term of network neutrality.


As a Swiss citizen, I got sensitised to security and defensive matters in my mandatory military service: I am currently commanding captain of an electronic operations unit in Switzerland’s reserves. During my Bachelor’s and Master’s studies in computer science I engaged with topics in LTE (4G) networks and user-friendly design. I gained insights into political work as member and president of the TUX party of the University of Bern, discussing topics such as privacy. Thereafter, I worked with Swisscom, Switzerland’s national phone operator, in the Big Data Mobility Insights Squad.

My current interest lies in combining my technical knowledge with my interest in politics and experience in military leadership. I explore governance aspects of cybersecurity, both on an enterprise and (inter)national level. I have taken a particular interest in the distribution of responsibilities between technology companies and states, and have developed a theory on the neutrality of global social media platforms. My main research interests are: Platform Governance (eg Social Media Platforms), National and Enterprise Cyber Governance, National and Enterprise Cyber Defence Strategy, Enterprise Cyber Risk Assessment and Management, Philosophical Foundations of Democracy in Cyberspace.

Apart from working on my DPhil, I have held the following positions over the past years:

Since November 2022 I work for the Science and Technology branch of the Swiss government’s defence procurement agency Armasuisse.

Recent Publications and Outputs:

  • Creese S, Fletcher K, Schuler Scott A, Stolz M et al. (2022): Emerging Cybersecurity Capability Gaps in the Industrial Internet of Things: Overview and Research Agenda. Published in: Digital Threats: Research and Practice (Volume 3, Issue 4), December 2022, 
  • Stolz MS (2021): Platform Neutrality and the Global Balance of Powers, International Conference on Computational Science and Computational Intelligence (CSCI) 2021.
  • Jakobsson AK, Stolz MS (2021): Principled Big Tech: European pursuit of technological autonomy. Published in: Strategic autonomy and the transformation of the EU: New agendas for security, diplomacy, trade and technology. Edited by Niklas Helwig. FIIA Report 67.
  • Stolz MS (2021): Platform Neutrality–A Solution for the Social Media War?, International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ICCWS). Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security ICCWS 2021. 
  • Stolz MS (2021): Competing Interests of Cyberintelligence and Cyberdefence Activities in Neutral Countries, International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ICCWS). Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security ICCWS 2021. 
  • Stolz MS, Creese S, et al. (2020): Cybersecurity Capacity Review Switzerland, Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre on behalf of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), GFCE Code: G0517. 
  • Creese S, Hannigan R, El Kaafarani A, Axon L, Fletcher K, Nagyfejeo E, Schuler Scott A, Stolz M (2020): Foresight review of cyber security for the Industrial IoT, Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Report Series: No. 2020.1. 
  • Stolz MS (2019): On Neutrality and Cyber Defence, Proceedings of the 18th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security. Academic Conferences and Publishing International.