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Collective cyber countermeasures?

Schmitt, M. N. ORCID: and Watts, S. (2021) Collective cyber countermeasures? Harvard National Security Journal, 12 (2). pp. 373-411. ISSN 2153-1358

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Countermeasures are an established and instrumental aspect of the international legal system of self-help. Although countermeasures are of long lineage, it was only with the advent of cyber operations that they took center stage in international law discourse among states, as they appeared to offer injured states a legal basis for “hack backs.” This article examines the evolution of approaches to collective countermeasures initiated between states and reflected in the work of the International Court of Justice and the International Law Commission. Upon this groundwork, we survey and assess the international security conditions relevant to the issue of collective countermeasures, with particular emphasis on their use in cyberspace. We conclude that, though the issue remains unsettled as a matter of law, collective cyber countermeasures on behalf of injured states, and support for the countermeasures of the injured state, are lawful.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:99144
Publisher:Harvard Law School


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