Interpretation Catalysts in Cyberspace
26 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2017 Last revised: 21 Aug 2017
Date Written: July 24, 2017
The cybersphere offers a rich space from which to explore the development of international law in a compressed time frame. This piece examines the soft law process over the last decade of the two Tallinn Manuals – handbooks on the international law of cyber warfare and cyber operations – as a valuable lens through which to witness the effects of “interpretation catalysts” on the evolution of international law. In prior work, I identified the concept of interpretation catalysts – discrete triggers for legal interpretation – and their influence on the path that legal evolution takes, including by compelling a decision-making body to take a position on its interpretation of a legal rule, shaping all aspects of the decision-making process, ultimately influencing the legal position that body takes, and often the resulting law itself. In this piece, I explore the role that the interpretation catalyst triggering the Tallinn process – the cyberattacks on Estonia in 2007 – have played in the development of the international law governing cyberspace going forward.
Keywords: cyberspace, cyber law, cyber attack, national security law, law of armed conflict, law of war, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, interpretation, war, Tallinn Manual
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