Fall 2016

Just & Unjust War, Uses of Force & Coercion: An Ethical Inquiry with Cyber Illustrations

David P. Fidler

The emergence of cyber means and methods of war, force, and coercion raises ethical questions under just war theory different from those historically generated by the development of ever more destructive instruments of war. Whether in armed conflict or contexts not considered war, cyber technologies create political and ethical incentives for their use. However, this attractiveness poses potential risks and dangers that, at present, are largely speculative but invite more ethical deliberation. Unfortunately, the convergence of political and ethical incentives on cyber in a context of increasing geopolitical competition and conflict make the prospects for ethical consensus on just and unjust cyber coercion, force, and war unlikely.

DAVID P. FIDLER is the James Louis Calamaras Professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Cybersecurity at the Council on Foreign Relations. His publications include The Snowden Reader (2015), India and Counterinsurgency: Lessons Learned (2009), Responding to National Security Letters: A Practical Guide for Legal Counsel (2009), and Biosecurity in the Global Age: Biological Weapons, Public Health, and the Rule of Law (2008).

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