Towards a Militarization of Cyberspace-Cyberwar as an Issue of International Law

PRIO Paper

Sandvik, Kristin Bergtora (2012) Towards a Militarization of Cyberspace-Cyberwar as an Issue of International Law. PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

The rationale behind this study is that while cyberwar is gaining recognition as a “fifth battlefield”, policy makers and the general public have insufficient knowledge about the legal and strategic implications of this development. The project explores questions of relevance for policy and public debate, such as: How can policy makers develop legal mechanisms and procedures that allow for cybersecurity threats to be properly assessed? In creating a legal regime for Cyberwarfare, what dilemmas arise? Which legal considerations and constraints should shape the development of civilian and military cybersecurity institutions? Why is a critical perspective on the cyberwar discourse important for policy making? To address these questions, the project will undertake five thematic investigations:

  1. Cyberwar as an issue of international law
  2. Cyberwar in the NATO Strategic Concept: Some Issues
  3. Distribution of Competence between Civilian and Military Authorities
  4. The Relationship between International and National Institutions
  5. The State, the Market and the Role of Public/Private Partnerships in Cyberwarfare

This working paper will discuss cyberwar as an issue of international law. The working paper examines some of the legal and strategic challenges that arise with respect to the development of effective international and national strategies to prevent, regulate and resolve cyberwar.

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