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2017 James Crawford Lecture on International Law

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The University of Adelaide

Napier Building, Lecture Theatre 1.02

Adelaide, SA 5005

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Orator: Professor Mike Schmitt

Commentator: Commodore Vicki McConachie CSC RANR

Grey Zones in the International Law of Cyberspace

It is clear that there are now certain critical grey zones of international law - international law principles and rules that are poorly demarcated or are subject to competing interpretations - that are susceptible to exploitation by States and non-state actors conducting cyber operations. By acting within legal grey zones, States can make it difficult for other States to definitively name and shame them, or respond through countermeasures as they would to a clear violation of international law. Moreover, exploiting grey zones has become a form asymmetrical warfare in the sense that States committed to the rule of law are less likely to operate in the grey zone than States that do not share this rule of law commitment. Drawing on his experience as General Editor of the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare (2013) and Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations (2017), Professor Schmitt examines key grey zones in the international law applicable to cyberspace that are ripe for exploitation and in need of clarification by States. He suggests an approach that would narrow the grey zones so as to enhance normative stability in cyberspace, and reflects on the benefits that such a clarification would bring.

Professor Michael Schmitt is the Charles H. Stockton Professor and Chairman of the Stockton Center at the United States Naval War College. He is also the Francis Lieber Distinguished Scholar at the United States Military Academy’s Lieber Institute, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Exeter, Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, and Senior Fellow at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. He is an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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The University of Adelaide

Napier Building, Lecture Theatre 1.02

Adelaide, SA 5005

Australia

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