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The Vulnerable Cables Undergirding the Internet

Amid concerns of cybersecurity and cyberwarfare, there is a related security topic that receives far less attention: vulnerabilities of the physical cables that enable telecommunications traffic and the Internet. Journalist Kate Murphy has a good, brief, non-technical analysis of the problem in today’s NYT, "The Cyberthreat Under the Street"(NYT, Sunday Review, November 8, 2015).

Autonomous Weapon Systems

Similar Ethical Dilemmas for Autonomous Weapon Systems and Autonomous Self-Driving Cars

In writing about autonomous weapon systems (AWS) and the law of armed conflict, we have several times observed the similarities between programming AWS and programming other kinds of autonomous technologies, as well as the similarities of ethical issues arising in each. Machine decision-making is gradually being deployed in emerging technologies as different as self-driving cars and highly automated aircraft, and many more will join them in such areas as elder-care machines and robotic surgery.


“State Opinio Juris and International Humanitarian Law Pluralism” by Michael N. Schmitt and Sean Watts

Mike Schmitt is well-known to many, probably most, regular readers of Lawfare—eminent and prolific scholar of the law of armed conflict (or international humanitarian law); driving force behind the Tallinn Manual on the application of LOAC to issues of cyberwar; and the rare scholar of LOAC who is navigates fluidly between US and European scholarly LOAC communities (with academic appointments in the US and the UK


“Black Holes and Open Secrets: The Impact of Covert Action on International Law” by Alexandra H. Perina

53 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law No. 3, p. 507 (2015). Available on SSRN.

The status of covert activities by a government in international law is an under-discussed topic in legal scholarship, even as it is simultaneously a topic exciting great passions among many, on the one hand, and yet a core part of national security operations for the US government (and other governments), on the other.


Readings: Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro Warn Against Hyping the Threat of Returning Jihadists

My Brookings colleagues Daniel Byman (who is, among other things, Lawfare's Foreign Policy Editor) and Jeremy Shapiro (who is, among other things, a demon with a barbecue and a slab of meat), have a new piece out in Foreign Affairs entitled, "Homeward Bound? Don't Hype the Threat of Returning Jihadists." It's a counter-intuitive take on the threat posed by Americans and Europeans who have gone to fight with ISIS, one that concludes that the threat---while real---is overb


Readings: Geoff Corn on Precautionary Measures in the Law of Armed Conflict

(Author's note: Apologies to Geoff and everyone else - I somehow managed to delete the last couple of paragraphs of this post when it went up.  I'll recover them--including the part of the post that actually introduces Geoff's paper!--and get it back up Tuesday. I'm sure everyone felt a trifle let down to have the last, incomplete sentence of the post beginning, "One of the most preeminent American law of war scholars and lawyers" ... only to break off unfinished and leave everyone hanging.)

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