Cyber warfare presents a number of challenging questions with regard to international humanitarian law (IHL) - particularly here in the United States, where different types of activity, such as cyber crime, virtual intelligence gathering, and military operations are covered by various government agencies.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the ICRC's chief legal advisor on cyber issues, Laurent Gisel, who is based in Geneva, and our DC-based deputy legal advisor, Gary Brown, who is a retired Air Force Colonel and previously served as the top lawyer at US Cyber Command.
I put a series of questions to both of them, such as: What are the challenges that cyber space itself poses to IHL (also known as the law of armed conflict)? Why is the ICRC interested in cyber warfare in the first place? Is IHL flexible enough to adapt to cyber weaponry? How do you ensure the protection of civilians when cyber warfare is used? And finally: What makes this field so exciting? (According to Gary, despite the doomsday headlines we so often see, there may be an upside to cyber warfare.)
Check out our video conversation below.
Here are some previous posts on cyber warefare you might enjoy:
A piece Gary wrote last year summing up a five-part series we did on cyber (with links to the other posts in that series).