Using BITs to Protect Bytes: Promoting Cyber Peace by Safeguarding Trade Secrets through Bilateral Investment Treaties
65 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2013 Last revised: 27 Jun 2014
Date Written: February 14, 2014
Bilateral investment treaties (BITs) are an increasingly important component of international investment law. There are currently more than 2,000 BITs involving some 175 countries active around the world. These agreements cover a huge range of industry sectors and business activities. The United States and China are negotiating an expansive BIT that will reportedly include the difficult issue of enhancing cybersecurity. This Article investigates the utility of using BITs as a vehicle for enhancing global cybersecurity, either as an interim step or potentially even a replacement for multilateral initiatives. The argument is made that BITs are an invaluable way to enhance cybersecurity as one component of a polycentric response to cyber attacks, but that the drawbacks of BITs should be analyzed using the pending U.S.-China BIT as a case study.
Keywords: bilateral investment treaty, international trade, cyber attacks, cybersecurity, China
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