New Book on Autonomous Cyber Capabilities under International Law

NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) launched at the Workshop Day of CyCon 2021 a new volume of articles on autonomous cyber capabilities reviewed from the perspective of international law. The book is edited by Prof. Rain Liivoja from University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law and Ms Ann Väljataga, Law Researcher at NATO CCDCOE.

Autonomous cyber capabilities are admittedly comparable to kinetic autonomous weapons systems in their potential impact and technological reality. Yet, related legal and political debates so actively resonating with regard to kinetic systems have been largely led along parallel but not convergent tracks in respect of cyber means. As a follow-up to the working paper „Autonomous Cyber Capabilities under International Law“ that was published in 2019, the edited volume at hand aims to take a step towards  convergence and a deeper understanding of the two discourses. The content is divided into three sections:

I Concepts and Frameworks, where Dr Tim McFarland, Prof. Tanel Tammet, Prof. Thomas Burri, Dr Daniel Trusilo, Prof. Ashley Deeks and Dr Dustin Lewis, outline the technical, ethical and legal premises for understanding autonomous cyber capabilities and analysing them through the lens of international law.

II International Legal Obligations contains chapters by Prof. Michael N. Schmitt, Prof. Peter Margulies, Prof. Eric Talbot Jensen, Alec Tattersall and Damian Copeland that explore, among other questions, whether the use of autonomous features in cyber operations hinders a State’s ability to meet the obligations posed by international (humanitarian) law. The authors provide their insights into how autonomous capabilities might affect the obligation to respect the sovereignty and prohibition to interfere with the internal affairs of other States, take feasible precautions when planning and deciding on an attack and conduct legal reviews of

III International Legal Responsibility, where Dr Samuli Haataja takes a look at how internationally wrongful acts committed through the use of autonomous cyber capabilities invoke state responsibility, and in which respects it differs from applying the law of state responsibility to cyber operations conducted under real-time human control. In Chapters 12 and 13 Dr Abhimanyu George Jain and Prof. Nicholas Tsagourias and Dr Russell Buchan make an inquiry into how international (criminal) law enables to bridge the alleged responsibility gap and apply command responsibility.