Prospects for the Rule of Law in Cyberspace by U.S. Army War College

Prospects for the Rule of Law in Cyberspace

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Print Length: 71 pages.
Language: English.
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Prospects for the Rule of Law in Cyberspace

Recently there has been intense attention on the dangers of hostile cyber and information operations by foreign powers. The legality under international law of this kind of interference in another state’s information space has been the subject of long discussion, both bilaterally between the United States and other major cyber powers, and internationally at the United Nations (UN) and elsewhere. British researcher Keir Giles provides a guide to the various and conflicting trends in this debate. As a long-term scholar of the Russian approach to cyber policy and legality in cyberspace, Giles places the discussion, and U.S. concerns, in an international context. In particular, he explains the deep ideological divides on the correct course of action to take between the United States and its allies on the one hand, and a large group of nations led by Russia and China on the other.

The United States believes, in broad terms, that activities in cyberspace require no new legislation, and that existing legal obligations are sufficient. However, a large number of other states led by Russia and China believe that new international legal instruments are essential in order to govern information security overall, including as expressed through the evolving domain of cyberspace. Russia in particular argues that the challenges presented by cyberspace are too urgent to wait for customary law to develop as it has done in other domains; instead, urgent action is needed.

About the Author: KEIR GILES is the Director of the Conflict Studies Research Centre (CSRC), a group of deep subject matter experts on Eurasian security formerly attached to the United Kingdom (UK) Ministry of Defence. Now operating in the private sector, CSRC provides in-depth analysis on a wide range of security issues affecting Russia and its relations with overseas partners.

United States Army War College: The purpose of the United States Army War College is to produce graduates who are skilled critical thinkers and complex problem solvers. Concurrently, it is our duty to the U.S. Army to also act as a “think factory” for commanders and civilian leaders at the strategic level worldwide and routinely engage in discourse and debate concerning the role of ground forces in achieving national security objectives.


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