Thursday, July 20, 2017

We Need Cyberwar Rules of Engagement Now

Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg Businessweek

image from article

The U.S. and Russia need to agree on basic notions, such as what constitutes an attack, as opposed to a mere nuisance.

Earlier this year, NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence presented the second edition of the so-called Tallinn Manual, a detailed exploration of current international law as it applies to cyberwarfare. The authors, 19 academics and international law practitioners led by Michael Schmitt of the U.S. Naval War College, had started compiling the manual in 2009 in response to massive Russian cyberattacks on Estonia and then on Georgia during the brief Russo-Georgian conflict. They identified 154 existing rules, but the manual isn’t an official document—it reflects only the authors’ understanding of the law.
Within the framework laid out in the Tallinn Manual, the interference U.S. intelligence services ascribe to Russia in the 2016 presidential election wouldn’t qualify as illegal intervention. The activity—spying, “criticism, public diplomacy, propaganda, retribution, mere maliciousness”—wasn’t meant to coerce Americans, who still chose their president freely. ...

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