CENTER FOR ETHICS AND THE RULE OF LAW​

Roundtable on Cyberwar and the Rule of Law

Cyberweapons have become the most dangerous
innovation of this century. Cyberwarfare is now considered by the FBI to be the number one threat, ahead of other forms of terrorism. Cyberweapons have the potential to wreak havoc with economic, political, and military systems on the basis of a
single electronic act, creating a dreadful new total war potentiality in every dimension. Preventing cyberattacks, however, puts immense pressure on notions of sovereignty and the moral and legal doctrines that were developed to regulate them. As
compared with other forms of warfare circumscribed by centuries of just war tradition and the law of armed conflict, cyberwarfare is particularly ambiguous from the standpoint of the rule of law: its prevention may require violating the
sovereignty of other nations, violating traditional domestic privacy rights, expanding the concept of combatancy, and lowering the threshold for what counts as an act of war. The legal and moral complexities inherent in this new form of warfare
make understanding the demands of the rule of law in national security an essential undertaking.
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Roundtable on Cyberwar and the Rule of Law