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13 February 2017

Tallinn Manual 2.0 Paves the Way for State Action in Cyber Space

Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations lays out expert analysis, paving the way for states to develop cyber norms, highlight experts. The European launch of the Tallinn Manual 2.0, the most comprehensive guide on how international law applies to events in cyber space, took place in The Hague today.

“The 154 black letter rules of the Tallinn Manual 2.0 reflect the consensus of our diverse, experienced and global group of experts. Taking a comprehensive look at how international law applies to cyber space, we assessed states’ rights and obligations in the cyber context,” explains Professor Michael N Schmitt, the director of the Tallinn Manual Process. “We analysed, among other issues, state responsibility for operations in cyber space, standards of attribution, the obligation to respect state sovereignty and what the possible responses of victim states to cyber attacks might be,” adds Liis Vihul, the book’s managing editor from the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

“The Tallinn Manual 2.0 is a useful contribution on how international law applies in cyberspace both during armed conflict and peacetime,” emphasizes Steven Hill, legal adviser and director of NATO’s Office of Legal Affairs. “This independent analysis will be a valuable resource for NATO as the Allies consider their positions on the legal implications of ensuring collective defence in the cyber domain.”

“Distinguished lawyers have concluded their authoritative deliberations, but we should keep in mind that the expert authors of the Tallinn Manual 2.0 do not create new international law. This is up to states and governments,” highlights Marina Kaljurand, member of the UN group of governmental experts in the field of information and telecommunications and former Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs. “This important task will not be easy.  Only states can offer formal and binding guidance on how international law applies to cyber events through practice, political statements, and globally agreed norms of responsible state behaviour.”

“Only a few years ago, nations questioned if international law applies to cyber space. Today governments and international organizations agree with the Tallinn Manual experts that it does. The focus is on how pre-cyber norms can be applied to this new domain,” explains Sven Sakkov, director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. “The new Tallinn Manual 2.0 paves way for the states to detail their views and practice.”

Authored by nineteen international law experts, the Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations is an influential resource for legal advisers dealing with cyber issues. The drafting of the Tallinn Manual 2.0 was facilitated and led by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. The updated and considerably expanded second edition is published by Cambridge University Press.

The focus of the original Manual, published in 2013, was on the most severe cyber operations, those that violate the prohibition of the use of force in international relations, entitle states to exercise the right of self-defence, and/or occur during armed conflict. The Tallinn Manual 2.0 adds a legal analysis of the more common cyber incidents that states encounter on a day-to-day basis and that fall below the thresholds of the use of force or armed conflict. The new expanded edition, like its predecessor, represents the views of its authors, and not of NATO, the NATO CCD COE, its Sponsoring Nations, or any other entity.

The Tallinn Manual 2.0 European launch in The Hague today was organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and The Asser Institute. More information on the Tallinn Manual 2.0 and launch events can be found at https://ccdcoe.org/news.html and https://ccdcoe.org/research.html and by following @ccdcoe and #TallinnManual on Twitter.