Technology and the Law on the Use of Force

New Security Challenges in the Twenty-First Century

By Jackson Maogoto

© 2015 – Routledge

112 pages

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Hardback: 9780415694339
pub: 2014-11-23
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About the Book

As governmental and non-governmental operations become progressively supported by vast automated systems and electronic data flows, attacks of government information infrastructure, operations and processes pose a serious threat to economic and military interests. In 2007 Estonia suffered a month long cyber assault to its digital infrastructure, described in cyberspace as ‘Web War I’. In 2010, a worm—Stuxnet—was identified as supervisory control and data acquisition systems at Iran’s uranium enrichment plant, presumably in an attempt to set back Iran’s nuclear programme. The dependence upon telecommunications and information infrastructures puts at risk Critical National Infrastructure, and is now at the core of national security interests.

This book takes a detailed look at these new theatres of war and considers their relation to international law on the use of force. Except in cases of self-defence or with the authorisation of a Security Council Resolution, the use of force is prohibited under the UN charter and customary international law. However, the law of jus ad bellum was developed in a pre-digital era where current technological capabilities could not be conceived. Jackson Maogoto asks whether the law on the use of force is able to deal with legal disputes likely to arise from modern warfare. Key queries include how one defines an armed attack in an age of anti-satellite weaponry, whether the destruction of a State’s vital digital eco-system or the "blinding" of military communication satellites constitutes a threat, and how one delimits the threshold that would enliven the right of self-defence or retaliatory action. The book argues that while technology has leapt ahead, the legal framework has failed to adapt, rendering States unable to legally defend themselves effectively.

The book will be of great interest and use to researchers and students of international law, the law of armed conflict, Information Technology and the law, and counter-terrorism.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Use of Force: Displaced 20th Century Rules, Norms and Standards? 2. Revolution in Military Affairs: Hi-Tech Weaponry, Low-Tech Legal Safeguards 3. The Fourth Domain—Ascendance of Space as a War Theatre 4. The Fourth Domain—Ascendance of Space as a War Theatre 5. Discarding Law by Analogy—Old Legal Frameworks for New Threats Conclusion

About the Author

Jackson Maogoto is Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Research in International Law

The series offers a space for new and emerging scholars of international law to publish original arguments, as well as presenting alternative perspectives from more established names in international legal research.  Works cover both the theory and practice of international law, presenting innovative analyses of the nature and state of international law itself as well as more specific studies within particular disciplines. The series will explore topics such as the changes to the international legal order, the processes of law-making and law-enforcement, as well as the range of actors in public international law. The books will take a variety of different methodological approaches to the subject including interdisciplinary, critical legal studies, feminist, and Third World approaches, as well as the sociology of international law. Looking at the past, present and future of international law the series reflects the current vitality and diversity of international legal scholarship.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW000000
LAW / General
LAW051000
LAW / International