Mike Schmitt and Louise Arimatsu on “The Plea of Necessity: An Oft Overlooked Response Option to Hostile Cyber Operations”

Professor Mike Schmitt and Principal Visiting Research Fellow Louise Arimatsu have co-authored an article published in International Law Studies which examines when states may claim “necessity” as the legal basis for an otherwise unlawful response to a hostile cyber operation.

The article can be found here.

Schmitt on (Virtual) World Speaking Tour

Professor Mike Schmitt spent the last three weeks on a virtual speaking tour around the world.  On 17 June, he spoke virtually on “Hostile Cyber Operations and the Pandemic” in an on-line webinar hosted by the United States Air Force Academy.  That afternoon, he also gave an in-person presentation on “Cyber Law Strategy” for military legal officers from around the world attending the Defense Institute for International Law Studies program in Rhode Island, USA. The following week, he opened the Canadian Government sponsored course on Human Rights in Cyber Space for Caribbean officials with a presentation on “The Cyber Context of Human Rights.” Professor Schmitt also co-directs the 7-day course, which is certified by Reading Law School as Executive Education.

On 24 June and 1 July Professor Schmitt gave a virtual seminar for officials of European Union states.  Each session covered cyber-attacks on health care and election meddling by cyber means. The seminar was hosted by Microsoft. Finally, on 30 June, Professor Schmitt was the guest speaker at Hebrew’s University Federmann Cyber Security Center. He analyzed recent UN actions regarding international cyber law and well as Israel’s recently released statement of its position as to how law applies in cyberspace.

Professor Mike Schmitt to serve as Director and Co-General Editor of the Tallinn Manual 3.0 project

The CCDCOE has committed to host a project to revise and expand the influential Tallinn Manual 2.0 on International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations. Professor Mike Schmitt, who directed the Tallinn Manual 2.0 effort and was its General Editor, will serve as the Director and Co-General Editor of the Tallinn Manual 3.0 project. In reaction to being invited to serve again as Project Director, Professor Schmitt noted, “The Tallinn Manual 2.0 International Group of Experts is proud of the extent to which its work has proven useful to States and the broader international community. But as the technology advances and the reliance of societies on cyberspace grows, States are taking stands through their pronouncements and practice on how international law governs cyber activities. If the Tallinn Manual process is to remain valuable to those who shoulder cyber responsibilities on behalf of their nations, we must act now to ensure it remains an accurate reflection of the current state of the law.” For more information on the project, see: CCDCOE

Extraterritorial Defensive Cyber Operations and International Law

Professor Mike Schmitt recently addressed the United States Naval War College on “Extraterritorial Defensive Cyber Operations and International Law.” The US Naval War College is a post-graduate institution focusing on international security issues for senior military officers and government officials from throughout the United States and partner nations. He also addressed Columbia University’s faculty and students at the invitation of the Columbia Society of International Law. Professor Schmitt spoke on “America’s Cyber Strategy in 2021 and Beyond,” specifically evaluating the Trump and Biden administrations’ approach to cyber strategy from an international law standpoint. Finally, Mike most recently virtually visited Harvard Law to talk about his experiences as an international lawyer.

Executive Course on International Law in Cyberspace

In March 2021 Professor Mike Schmitt co-directed the year’s first Executive Course on International Law in Cyberspace for government officials from throughout the Caribbean region. The course, certified by the University of Reading’s School of Law as Executive Education, takes a deep look at how international law governs cyber operations conducted by states, as well as by non-State actors ranging from terrorist groups to “patriotic hackers”. It addresses the law applying in both peacetime and armed conflict. This course was part of a program launched last year to train government officials on international cyber law. In addition to the Executive Course, a 7-day course on International Human Rights and Cyberspace is also available, the first of which was delivered early this year to government officials from throughout Southeast Asia. The courses are sponsored by individual countries. Additional courses will be offered around the world during 2021, all for officials with a cyber portfolio.

International Law in the Cyber Era: Finding Balance between State Interests and Individual Rights

The School of Law is continuing to build on its outreach efforts to governments around the world with “International Law in the Cyber Era: Finding Balance between State Interests and Individual Rights”, a new course sponsored by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and co-directed by the Law School’s Professor Mike Schmitt.  The pilot offering of the course ran from 2-10 February 2021 for government officials throughout Southeast Asia. It joins the “International Law of Cyber Operations” program for government officials, which was offered 12 times around the world last year, in being certified as Executive Education by the University of Reading School of Law. The new “Finding Balance” course focuses on international human rights law and other aspects of international law that afford individuals and private entities protection in cyberspace.  Key topics include freedom of expression and the right to privacy online, the role of business in safeguarding human rights, and protecting civilians from harmful cyber operations during armed conflict.  The School’s Executive Courses in cyber affairs are sponsored by the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, and United States, often in cooperation with regional organisations like the Organization of American States and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This year, Canada joins as a major sponsor of the programmes.

Congratulations to Professor Mike Schmitt who was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter’s Strategy and Security Institute

On October the 27th and 29th 2020, Professor Mike Schmitt spoke at a Marshall Centre for Security Studies (Germany) virtual workshop for government officials dealing with cyber matters from throughout Europe, Africa and the Americas. His first presentation was on Sovereignty and Intervention in Cyberspace, while the second dealt with International Law and the Use of Force in Cyberspace.