CyCon US 2017
Yesterday's CyCon sessions included an interesting panel on the Tallinn Manual and international law as it affects cyber operations. The panelists, many of whom had been involved in preparing Tallinn 2.0, stressed a commonly overlooked fact about this NATO publication on cyber conflict: it was developed to expound lex lata, the law as it stands, and not lex ferenda, the law as it ought to be. They saw this as essential to the manual's credibility. There was one significant area of dispute, and that was over sovereignty, how it's to be interpreted, how it informs permissible activity under international law, and how it interacts with a requirement for due diligence.
This morning the conference opened with presentations by the Directors of the US Army Cyber Institute and of NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE). CCDCOE Director Merle Maigre opened her brief remarks with a pointed, "Greetings from the front lines." (The CCDCOE is based in Estonia.) She reviewed the challenge Russia poses to the Atlantic Alliance, with aggressive rhetoric and similarly aggressive deployment of offensive cyber capabilities. She's warned of an increase, evident today, in attacks against critical infrastructure, and of a growing trend of machines attacking machines.
Today's first keynote was delivered by New America's Peter Singer, who described new technologies: call them "revolutionary" or "disruptive," they'll have far-reaching implications for the future of conflict, and indeed for the future of human society as a whole. Technological change will manifest itself in both hardware and software. It will, he argued, not only mimic human decision-making, but will make better decisions (at least in some cases) and make them much more quickly. It will also be widely distributed, with low barriers of entry.
We'll have more extensive accounts of the proceedings, and of conversations with participants, later this week.