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Ireland Takes Key Stands on International Law in Cyberspace

On July 6th, Ireland released its Position Paper on the Application of International Law in Cyberspace. Coming on the heels of the 2021 UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE, on cyberspace) “Official Compendium,” which contained the views of 15 nations, and the 2022 publication of Canada’s position (analysis), it might be mistaken for just another in a growing (yet laudable) string of such statements. That would be a mistake, for Ireland takes on the key contentious issues with particular focus, clarity, and legal precision. Its willingness to do so is noteworthy. Sovereignty The 2018 announcement by the United Kingdom’s Attorney General that the UK rejects characterization of sovereignty as a binding rule of international law applicable in cyberspace (confirmed in 2022) sparked a debate over sovereignty’s status. Despite continuing academic fixation on the issue, the international community appears to broadly have made up its collective mind. Every State that opined unambiguously on the matter has…

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Opening an ICRC Delegation for Cyberspace

With humanitarian organizations becoming more active in and reliant upon new technologies and the digital domain, they have evolved from simple bystanders to full-fledged stakeholders in cyberspace. They also become vulnerable to adverse cyberoperations that could impact their capacity to protect and assist people affected by violence or armed conflict whilst having…

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Al-Masarir v Saudi Arabia: A route to state accountability for spyware

Background On 19 August 2022, Knowles J denied Saudi Arabia’s claim to immunity in the case of Al Masarir v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [2022] EWHC 2199. The claimant was a human rights activist and critic of the Saudi Arabian government who had been residing in the UK. The factual background to his claim…

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Canada Takes on International Law in Cyberspace

This April, Global Affairs Canada (GAC, the foreign ministry) released Canada’s position on the application of international law in cyberspace. Unfortunately, for two reasons, the statement failed to attract the attention it merited. First, Canada released it on the heels of the 2019-21 U.N. Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) Report on State…

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The United Kingdom on International Law in Cyberspace

The United Kingdom has long been a thought leader in applying international law to cyberspace. In 2018, the then-Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, spoke on the subject in a granular address at Chatham House, making the United Kingdom one of the first countries to set forth its views on how international law applies to cyberspace during…

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