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Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations

Speakers: Ms Liis Vihul

 

In conjunction with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre hosted the Australian launch of the Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations. The Tallinn Manual 2.0 studies the existing body of international law, summarising and interpreting 154 rules in the context of cyber operations.
 

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Her Excellency Mrs Erica Schouten, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, introduced the report in the context of national, European and international interests. She noted that it was fitting that the launch took place on Estonia’s National Day, as the 2007 cyberattacks on Estonia established cyber operations as a key threat, now and in the future.

Ms Liis Vihul of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence presented the report's key findings, emphasising the worldwide perspective taken by the report and discussing it in context with precedents from international law.

Professor Michael Schmitt, Senior Fellow at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, and Professor Tim McCormack of the Melbourne Law School answered audience questions, mediated by the Australian National University College of Law’s Associate Professor Robert McLaughlin. The Q&A touched on difficulties that the researchers had to negotiate in compiling the manual, including the precise definition of an ‘attack’ in this context, and the status of data as a civilian object. The idea of attribution was also discussed, particularly the difference between factual and legal attributions in the determination of appropriate countermeasures to a cyberattack.  The panellists expressed the belief that Tallinn Manual 2.0 would help to reduce ambiguity in a historically grey area—this would clarify the cost of hostile cyber operations, acting both to deter illegal action and to limit cyber escalation in conflicts.

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This event was sponsored by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.