Reliable Old Wineskins: The Applicability of the Just War Tradition to Military Cyber Operations

Philosophy and Technology 28 (3):387-405 (2015)
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This article argues that the traditional jus ad bellum and jus in bello criteria are fully capable of providing the ethical guidance needed to legitimately conduct military cyber operations. The first part examines the criteria’s foundations by focusing on the notion of liability to defensive harm worked out by revisionist just war thinkers. The second part critiques the necessity of alternative frameworks, which its proponents assert are required to at least supplement the traditional just war criteria. Using the latter, the third part evaluates ethical issues germane to responding to cyber force, including casus belli, moral aspects of “the attribution problem,” and respective rights and duties when attacks involve innocent third-party states. The fourth part addresses in bello issues, including compliance with discrimination, necessity, and civilian due care imperatives; whether civilians may be targeted with sub-“use of force” cyber-attacks and the permissibility of using civilian contractors to conduct cyber-attacks. Throughout these analyses, conclusions are brought into conversation with those of The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare



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Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Can we harm and benefit in creating?Elizabeth Harman - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):89–113.
Proportionality in the Morality of War.Thomas Hurka - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (1):34-66.
Information ethics: on the philosophical foundation of computer ethics.Luciano Floridi - 1999 - Ethics and Information Technology 1 (1):33–52.
A Defense of the Counterfactual Comparative Account of Harm.Justin Klocksiem - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):285 – 300.

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