The Laws Of Cyberwar

I have absolutely no idea what to make of this assertion by Jack Goldsmith at the very very bottom of yesterday’s NYT piece about cyberwarfare, but man is it interesting:

“Cyberwar is problematic from the point of view of the laws of war,” said Jack L. Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School. “The U.N. Charter basically says that a nation cannot use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any other nation. But what kinds of cyberattacks count as force is a hard question, because force is not clearly defined.”

Is there not a legally-significant distinction between a cyberaction against a military target and a civilian one? Or is Goldsmith correct to say that the whole enterprise has outpaced international law to a problematic degree? Lawyers, help me out here. 

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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman