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Why States Need an International Law for Information Operations

The article begins by exploring whether or not Information Operations concepts are covered by laws of war and surveys the wisdom that favors the status quo. The article then evaluates the existing international law's application to Information Operations. There exists a lot of uncertainty when drawing an analogy between current international law, especially in the areas prohibiting the use of force, Distinction Principles with civilians, and banning perfidy. The rules of international law become even more unclear when the attacking agent is a non-state actor, such as cyber-terrorists. The problem of attribution draws attention to how international legal regimes overlap in the arena of Information Operations. Finally, the article notes that a new set of rules should be appended to existing international laws to elucidate how to use Information Operational warfare instead of traditional military warfare. The article calls on states to congregate and draft these sets of rules and address the regulatory design issues.
Duncan B. Hollis
Temple University's James E. Beasley School of Law
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