Top legal experts met last week in Estonia for a drafting session of the substantially expanded and updated edition of the handbook that sets guiding principles in the legal affairs of conflicts in cyber space.
Tallinn Manual 2.0 is the follow-up to the original "Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare," which was published in 2013. Both aim to offer guidance on applying existing international norms to the cyber arena and are based on the consensus of an international group of legal experts. Tallinn Manual 2.0 will expand the scope of the original piece to so-called peacetime international law, addressing incidents that states frequently face.
The new manual is expected to be completed and published in the second half of 2016.
“Our focus has to be practical – how existing international laws, treaties and norms regulate activities in cyberspace,” said Professor Michael Schmitt, Director of the Tallinn Manual project.
“We do not hope to replace state legal advisers, but to offer a tool to give their clients good guidance. That is best accomplished by laying out all the legal options for them,” he added, highlighting that the international group of experts provides the full range of reasonable interpretations of the law.
“The most difficult material proved to be international human rights law governing activities in cyberspace,” said Liis Vihul, managing editor of the Tallinn Manual and legal researcher at the Tallinn-based the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.
Vihul said that the group deliberated whether international human rights norms apply at all to the activity concerned, such as the collection of metadata. “If the answer is yes, we then have to examine whether the state has actually violated the individual’s rights. For instance, assuming the collection of metadata implicates human rights norms, under what circumstances is a state authorized to engage in such activities?”
The Tallinn Manual process is funded, hosted and facilitated by the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.
Editor: S. Tambur