Skip to main content

Dr Mačák (foreground) with Professor Schmitt in Estonia

Exeter Cyber Law Experts in the Spotlight in Estonia

Exeter Law School is cementing its position as a global thought leader in international cyber law. Between 21 May and 1 June 2018, two members of the faculty travelled to Tallinn, Estonia, to take part in an annual gathering of global cyber experts in the fields of technology, strategy, policy, and law. 

Professor Mike Schmitt spent the week of 21 May directing an advanced seminar on cyber law for 35 government officials and military officers from NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. The seminar was organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and targeted policy makers and their legal advisers. The following Monday, he met with President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia, as well as her National Security Adviser and Legal Counselor, to discuss international legal cyber strategy and ways Estonia and other nations could move the international dialogue forward. Estonia is a global thought leader in the field of cyber security. Following the meeting, he went to the Australian Embassy, where he met with the country’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, Dr Tobia Feakin, to discuss Australia’s new cyber capacity-building program for the Asia-Pacific region, in which he will play a key role.

On Tuesday 29 May, Professor Schmitt spoke at the Munich Security Conference’s Cyber Summit in Tallinn on a panel addressing the future of cyber law and policy. The Munich Security Conference program is widely recognized as among the most important events in the field of international security. On the panel with Professor Schmitt were President Kersti Kaljulaid; Her Excellency Marina Kaljurad, Chairperson of the Global Commission on Cyber Security; Mr John Frank, Vice-President of Microsoft-Europe; and Mr Thomas Tschersich of Deutsch Telecom. The following day, Professor Schmitt met with Microsoft officials and several diplomats regarding Microsoft’s various efforts to advance global norms, such as its proposal for a Digital Geneva Convention.

In the meantime, Dr Kubo Mačák led the pilot workshop for his ESRC-funded project on International Cyber Law in Practice on the margins of the 10th annual International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CyCon) on Tuesday 29 May. The aim of the workshop was to identify specific practical challenges related to international law and cyber security that legal advisors and decision-makers face and thus to help bridge the gap between academia and practice. Attendees included representatives of NATO, the US Cyber Command, the Israeli Ministry of Justice, and the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency. The output of the workshop will form the basis for the development of an interactive toolkit due to be released in mid-2019.

On Thursday 31 May, Professor Schmitt and Dr Mačák both participated in a high-level expert panel on international law and cyber security at CyCon. The theme of the panel was “Due Diligence in Cyberspace” and the Exeter academics were joined by Professor Karine Bannelier (University Grenoble Alps) and Mr Peter Stockburger (Dentons). The session, chaired by Dr Mačák, addressed the extension of the established international legal principle of due diligence to cyber operations. Professor Schmitt presented the Tallinn Manual 2.0 analysis of the principle and considered some of the early state reactions thereto. The other panellists explored the theoretical nature of state obligations based on the principle of due diligence and the possible development of the principle in the future.

View video below.

Date: 13 June 2018