Regulating Cyber Warfare: Why International Law Might Need a Refresh

When we typically picture warfare, we think of military grade weaponry associated with large-scale collateral damage. When we hear the term cyberwarfare, we may think of computer viruses, technological jargon, and elusive hackers shutting down IT systems. Despite their differences cyberwarfare’s regulations in international law are far more closely related to traditional warfare than one might expect. This poses new challenges for International Humanitarian Law have left many legal scholars and policy makers questioning whether conventional rules regulating armed conflicts can actually be extrapolated to cyberspace.

The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence stands behind this approach through drafting the Tallinn Manual 2.0. This document makes use of extensive legal theorising to prove how current international legal norms can be applied to cyberwarfare. For this reason the Tallinn Manual 2.0 intends to only describe the lex lata, the law as it exists, rather than acting as a binding document or treatise. Other nations, most notably Russia and China, have instead pushed for more regulations on cyber warfare as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2009 and the International Information Security Code of Conduct in September 2011

But which approach is the right one? Do we work with the established international laws we have or do we need to create succinct laws?

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Regulating Fully Autonomous Weapons

Fully autonomous weapons (FAWs), which are robotic systems that can select  and fire upon targets without any human intervention, have the potential to be an enormous revolution in military affairs. Proponents of FAWs believe that they will allow faster, more precise and more efficient military interventions. They additionally maintain that these systems will reduce the human risks connected with military operations since they will replace  soldiers with autonomous machines. However, despite these advantages, FAWs have been  denounced as killer robots and are widely criticized by society and the international community. Critics cite, among other factors, the lack of human supervision, the dangers of the robotic arms race, the limited ability of machines to estimate proportionality of an attack and distinguish legitimate targets from illegitimate ones, and the problems associated with accountability for robot’s actions. Despite these serious arguments against FAWs, a pre-emptive ban on this technology is unlikely because it is opposed by the superpowers mosted invested in the development of the weapons systems. A more feasible solution would be to establish  regulations that would alleviate the most harmful aspects of FAWs.  This policy proposal will introduce regulations that the international community, through the mechanism of the United Nations, should implement  in order to prevent the most harmful effects of FAW development and deployment.

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Fighting Fake News Without Destroying Freedom of Speech – Lessons from Singapore

Introduction

Fake news dissemination is the plague of modern society. It interferes with elections, raises fears and inflames conflicts. There is no doubt that society should adopt measures to mitigate the damaging effects of its spread. Many countries have attempted to address the issue of online disinformation; however, it appears that policymakers are failing to adequately confront this challenge. Most anti-fake news laws are assailed as forms of censorship that attempt to suppress opposition. Is it possible to create anti-fake news legislation without infringing upon freedom of speech? 

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