Prospects for the Rule of Law in Cyberspace
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CARLISLE BARRACKS United States
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This Letort Paper provides an overview of moves toward establishing international norms and the rule of law in cyberspace, and the potential for establishing further internationally accepted and enforceable standards of behavior. Completed in late 2015, it reflects the state of play in these areas at that time. It especially highlights opposing views on the nature of legality in cyberspace, and how and where those views are gaining global support. 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. As well as disagreement on new legislation, there is a fundamental schism in international discussion on what exactly should constitute illegal behavior in cyberspace. Russian and Chinese information security policies express a holistic approach to countering information threats, particularly by recognizing the problem of harmful content, as well as the strict cyber issue of harmful code or cyber weapons. Nevertheless, the previous basic Euro-Atlantic assumption that freedom of expression and free movement of information online are sacrosanct has now been challenged in some quarters, in the face of their exploitation by Russia and the Islamic State IS. Hostile information activities by both actors have brought clarity to the concerns over subversive content that were previously expressed by Russia and China but disavowed by the United States.
- Sociology and Law
- Computer Systems Management and Standards
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics