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  • Wars are a tragic part of our history

  • and will almost certainly be a tragic part of our future.

  • Since the establishment of the United Nations,

  • wars of aggression have been outlawed

  • and multilateral conventions refer to armed conflict

  • instead of war.

  • But the wars of the future

  • won't be like the wars of our past.

  • Alongside traditional warfare,

  • our future will include cyberwarfare,

  • remotely fighting our enemies

  • through the use of a new class of weapons,

  • including computer viruses

  • and programs to alter the enemy's ability to operate.

  • And not only is cyberwarfare not covered

  • by existing legal frameworks,

  • but the question of what exactly constitutes cyberwarfare

  • is still highly debated.

  • So, how can we deal with cyberwarfare

  • if we can't even agree on what it means?

  • One way forward is to envision situations

  • where new international laws may be needed.

  • Imagine a new kind of assassin,

  • one that could perpetrate a crime

  • without firing a single shot

  • or even being in the same country.

  • For example, an individual working for the government

  • uses a wireless device to send a signal

  • to another foreign leader's pacemaker.

  • This device directs the pacemaker to malfunction,

  • ultimately resulting in the foreign leader's death.

  • Would this cyber assassination

  • constitute an act of war?

  • As a second example,

  • imagine an allied group of nations

  • cooperatively infiltrating the computer systems

  • of an enemy nation's nuclear warship.

  • This attack results in a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

  • almost melting down,

  • which was stopped just short

  • of killing thousands of soldiers and civilians.

  • As a defensive measure,

  • the enemy country responds

  • by unleashing a defensive cyberattack

  • that results in the allied nations' power grids going down.

  • Hospitals can no longer treat patients,

  • entire regions without heat or clean water,

  • all ultimately causing tens of thousands civilian deaths.

  • The origin of the power failure

  • was the counterattack,

  • but the fragile infrastructure,

  • feeble cybersecurity,

  • and the antiquated state of the power grid

  • all contributed to the deaths of the civilians.

  • Could the country fight back?

  • Who would they fight?

  • And would their retaliation be considered an act of war?

  • Do they constitute war crimes against humanity?

  • Who is to be held responsible?

  • The computer programmers who wrote the code?

  • The military project manager

  • who oversaw the creation of the code?

  • The commander who hit the button,

  • setting off the event?

  • The hardware engineer who created the computers,

  • knowing that they were intended to enable an attack?

  • Because war has been with us for so long,

  • we have laws to deal with figuring out

  • who should be held accountable

  • for their actions in combat.

  • These legal frameworks aim to contain

  • and prevent atrocities from being more atrocious.

  • Commandeering civilian planes

  • and using them as weapons,

  • dropping atomic bombs,

  • the use of gas chambers or poisonous gas in conflict,

  • all of these actions, if committed,

  • constitute acts of war and war crimes

  • under customary international law

  • and the Hague conventions.

  • Again, the current legal framework stays silent

  • on hypothetical questions and countless others

  • because there are no easy answers,

  • and there are only two ways

  • to make progress on these questions:

  • peace or new laws.

  • So, what hypothetical but plausible scenarios

  • can you imagine falling under

  • the burgeoning definition of cyberwarfare,

  • and how might you design

  • an international legal framework

  • to deter these activities?

Wars are a tragic part of our history

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【TED-Ed】Defining cyberwarfare...in hopes of preventing it - Daniel Garrie

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    稲葉白兎 posted on 2015/04/14
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