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Cyber WarLaw and Ethics for Virtual Conflicts$
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Jens David Ohlin, Kevin Govern, and Claire Finkelstein

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717492

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717492.001.0001

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Cyber Causation

Cyber Causation

(p.37) 3 Cyber Causation
Cyber War

Jens David Ohlin

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the increasing threat and deployment of cyberweapons will force the law of war to develop a sophisticated and nuanced account of causation. It first explains why causation is largely irrelevant to the basic structure of traditional international humanitarian law (IHL). It then introduces various scenarios of cyber attacks that will trigger immense pressure on IHL to develop an account of causation. It supports the proposition that cyber attacks implicate the concept of causation in previously unseen ways and places immense pressure on the adjudication of causation. It explains why some traditional theories of causation cannot be reflexively and uncritically grafted into IHL. It concludes that the law governing cyberwar should place a premium on transparent rules that, like the pattern of manifest criminality, can be applied by a reasonable third-party observer.

Keywords:   cyberwarfare, cyberwar, law of war, international humanitarian law, transparency

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