21 top international law experts gathered in Estonia to discuss the applicability of international law to the cyber arena. Meeting upon the invitation of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, the Tallinn Manual 2.0 drafting session included issues such as attribution of cyber attacks and state responsibility for them.
“Tallinn Manual 2.0 follows on the heels of the 2013 Tallinn Manual 1.0, which addressed the international law governing cyber exchanges during conflict. The updated and expanded edition complements that by addressing the international laws surrounding malicious cyber operations by state and non-state actors during peacetime,” said Professor Mike Schmitt, Director of the Tallinn Manual Process. These types of cyber incidents take place every day, being by far more common and widespread than attempts of cyber warfare.
“The world’s top international legal thinkers and practitioners dealt with issues such as the attribution of cyber attacks, the responsibility of states to ensure hostile cyber operations are not mounted from their territory, and when such operations violate the sovereignty of the state into which they are directed,” explained Professor Schmitt. These topics have been at the forefront of recent tensions between various nations over commercial and governmental espionage and the cyber attacks against private corporations, Schmitt added.
Tallinn Manual 1.0 and 2.0 are designed to provide government legal advisers with guidance and to encourage further research. The geographically representative expert group focused on achieving consensus on black letter rules and capturing any differences in their views of the law
Tallinn Manual 2.0 is the follow-on to the successful Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare. Both projects aim to offer guidance on applying existing international norms to the cyber arena, consist of black letter rules with commentary and are based on the consensus of an international group of legal experts. Tallinn Manual 2.0 will expand the scope of the original piece to so-called peacetime international law, addressing incidents that are frequent and common.
The Tallinn Manual Process is funded, hosted and facilitated by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. The second expanded and updated edition of the Tallinn Manual will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.
Tallinn Manual Process Director Michael N. Schmitt is the Charles H. Stockton Professor and Director of the Stockton Centre for the Study of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College and Senior Fellow at the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. He also serves as the Professor of Public International Law at the University of Exeter (UK) and School of Law Fellow at the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict.