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Georgetown Law Library

International and Foreign Cyberspace Law Research Guide

This guide covers resources on cyberspace law where issues encompass the Internet, cybercrime, privacy and ecommerce. Cyberspace law can incorporate aspects of comparative, international and foreign law

The Tallinnn Manual & Primary Law Applicable to Cyber Conflicts

The law of war is the subset of public international law that governs armed conflicts.  It includes criteria for determining whether the use of force is justifiable (jus ad bellum), as well as rules governing the conduct of warfare (jus in bello), also known as international humanitarian law (IHL).

Scholars continue to debate whether existing international law principles, including those that govern warfare, are sufficient to address cyber attacks or whether a new legal framework is needed to manage conflicts in cyberspace.  Although various proposals for drafting a cyberspace treaty have been floated, none have born fruit, and it is unlikely that a new treaty will emerge any time soon.

Listed below are tools for researching international law principles that are relevant to the management of cyber conflicts, as well as links to The Tallinn Manual, which applies these principles to cyberspace.
 

Tools for Researching International Law Principles for Managing Cyber Conflicts

The Tallinn Manual & the Application of International Law Principles to Cyberspace

The Tallinn Manual, published in March, 2013, is the first comprehensive and authoritative attempt to analyze the application of international law to cyber warfare.  It was produced by an international team of legal scholars at the request of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence, which is located in Tallinnn, Estonia.  The manual represents the views of the authors in their personal capacities and does not reflect the official policy of NATO or its member states.  A follow-up report, The Tallinn Manual 2.0, was released in February, 2017.  Tallinn 2.0 broadens the scope to assess how international legal principles can be applied to malevolent cyber operations that do not rise to the level of an armed attack.