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A treaty for cyberspace

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In the wake of the crippling cyber attack on Estonia's internet infrastructure in 2007, several world powers announced their intentions to deploy offensive capabilities in cyberspace. As cyberspace evolves from a technology enthusiast's domain into a global economic and military ‘battlespace’, the likelihood of a major interstate cyber conflict increases significantly. The article discusses why now may be the time for international society to begin working towards ratification of a global cyber treaty. It begins by reviewing the converging forces responsible for making cyberspace a dynamic zone of political and economic competition among states. It then examines the central debates surrounding how the laws of armed conflict may or may not apply to cyber warfare. The article concludes by arguing that given proper political support, a multilateral cyber treaty could prove an effective international instrument in preventing cyberspace from becoming the default platform for states seeking to settle conflicts outside the reach of customary international law and diplomacy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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