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09 February 2017

International Law Applies to Cyber Operations, Tallinn Manual 2.0 Reaffirms

The new Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations reaffirms that cyber operations do not occur in a legal vacuum. The influential handbook is published by Cambridge University Press and authored by an international group of experts. The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence facilitated the drafting process.

Tallinn Manual 2.0, as well as state practice, affirms that international law applies to cyber space, emphasizes Liis Vihul, managing editor of the Tallinn Manual 2.0. “Cyber operations do not occur in a legal vacuum and states both have rights and bear obligations in cyber space. Norms, including those predating the cyber-era, apply to cyber operations, both conducted by and directed against states. The Manual draws on international law ranging from sovereignty and state responsibility to human rights and space law.”

Tallinn Manual 2.0 includes a legal analysis of the more common cyber incidents that states encounter on a day-to-day basis, as well as the most severe forms of cyber operations, which amount to a use of force or armed conflict,” says Tallinn Manual 2.0 director Professor Michael Schmitt of the United States Naval War College and the University of Exeter. “The book consists of 154 black letter rules that reflect the consensus of the experts behind the Tallinn Manual 2.0. The accompanying commentary explains the rules’ legal basis, along with possible differences of opinion in their precise application.”

“First and foremost, the Tallinn Manual 2.0 is a comprehensive practical handbook on how current international law applies in the cyber context. The truly global look is authored by 19 highly-regarded experts from all over the world. Additionally, 50 states were part of the consultations and over 50 specialists contributed to peer review,” explains Sven Sakkov, director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, the organization facilitating the Tallinn Manual drafting process.

“It is important that states reach common understandings about how international law applies and to that end Tallinn Manual 2.0 will be an invaluable resource,” says Dutch Ambassador to the United States, Henne Schuwer.

The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in partnership with the Atlantic Council and the Embassy of the Netherlands launched the Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations, the most comprehensive analysis of how existing international law applies to cyber operations today. The Manual considerably updates and expands on the highly influential 2013 Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare.

 

More information is available at https://ccdcoe.org/research.html or by following @ccdcoe and #TallinnManual on Twitter. Video of the discussion on international law and cyber operations can be viewed at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/events/webcasts/international-law-and-cyber-operations-launch-of-the-tallinn-manual-2-0.