The Attorney General the Rt Hon Suella Braverman QC MP will tonight set out more detail on the UK’s position on applying international law to cyberspace in a speech at Chatham House. The Attorney will say that the united international response to the illegal invasion of Ukraine has illustrated the need to have a clear framework for cybersecurity that makes clear when State action is unlawful.
The Attorney will stress that cyberspace is not lawless. The Attorney will argue that a cyber-attack should be treated the same as physical attack and that states must lead the debate on what they see as the ‘rules of the road’.
The Attorney will set out the UK’s view on what constitutes unlawful cyber behaviour. This will enable the UK and others to better ‘call out’ unlawful behaviour and give clarity on what action can lawfully be taken in response to a cyber-attack.
The Attorney will say that the threat from cyber-attacks is real, and disruptive state cyber behaviour has caused chaos across the world. Recently, before its illegal invasion of Ukraine, Russia targeted destructive malware against hundreds of systems across Ukraine affecting its IT, energy, and financial sectors.
The Attorney General will say:
The United Kingdom’s aim is to ensure that future frontiers evolve in a way that reflects our democratic values and interests and those of our allies.
The law needs to be clear and well understood if it is to be part of a framework for governing international relations and to rein in irresponsible cyber behaviour. Setting out more detail on what constitutes unlawful activity by States will bring greater clarity about when certain types of robust measures are justified in response.
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