China, International Law, and Cyberspace: CFR

Adam Segal wrote a great post for the Council on Foreign Relations’ Asia Unbound blog concerning China’s view on the law that applies to cyberattack.  Of course, Harold Koh, the U.S. Dept of State’s legal advisor, recently said that cyberattacks are subject to international law.  Accordingly, “[c]yber activities that proximately result in death, injury, or significant destruction would likely be viewed as a use of force.”  Before using cyberweapons, you have to apply the traditional distinction/proportionality/necessity analysis.

However, the Chinese don’t buy that approach, and may feel that a new treaty is necessary.  Interestingly, Segal writes that the Chinese view the U.S. approach as “too narrow,” preferring a broader approach that would allow “room to interpret the spread of rumors, gossip, and other malicious information through the use of communication technologies as a security threat.”  Moreover, Segal cites at least one Chinese analyst who thinks that LOAC simply doesn’t apply because it is too difficult to reconcile proportionality, acts of aggression, distinction, and neutrality with cyberspace.

Check out Adam Segal’s article for CFR here.




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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Anna Maria Castillo

is a third year law student at Syracuse College of Law. She is also pursuing a Master of Arts in International Relations at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She currently serves as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a second year student at SU College of Law. Christopher is a non-traditional student, returning to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering and in addition to being a full-time student, Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a third year student at Syracuse College of Law. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She is a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was recently awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and as an extern in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Full biography

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography