Skip to main content

Schmitt speaking to government officials on cyber challenges

Exeter Law School's Professor Schmitt on Israel Tour

Professor Michael Schmitt of Exeter Law School and the Exeter Centre for International Law participated in a series of events Israel from 4-12 December at the invitation of Hebrew University Law School, where he is a Research Affiliate with its Cyber Law Center.

Schmitt began his visit by conducting a seminar on controversial issues in cyber law for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows at Hebrew University. Of particular interest to the group was his analysis of the responsibility that States have under international law to ensure their territory is not used by non-State groups, such as terrorists or hacktivists, to conduct harmful cyber attacks against other countries.

He then participated in a small by-invitation only workshop organised by the Israel Democracy Institute on “Liberal Democracies and their Struggles against Terrorism: New Approaches". The workshop was attended by senior Israeli officials such as the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and the Attorney General, as well as senior academics from Israel and other countries. Following the workshop, Schmitt spoke on “Sovereignty and Due Diligence in Cyberspace” at a workshop for government attorneys and academics from Europe, Australia, the United States, and Israel.

The workshop was convened to assess the impact of the “Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law of Operations” on the development of international law. Schmitt directed the 7-year international project that resulted in publication of the Manual in early 2013. In recognition of his leadership of the project, the President of Estonia awarded him the Cross of the Order of Terra Mariana. Schmitt's time in Israel ended with his keynote address at the Human Rights in Cyberspace conference organised jointly by Hebrew and Haifa Universities. Schmitt spoke on “Ambiguity in Cyber Law", arguing that although some major cyber powers may support ambiguity in the law in order to afford them greater operational leeway in cyberspace, in fact such ambiguity is destabilising.

From Israel, he flew to Washington to attend the semi-annual meeting of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, of which Schmitt is a member. During the proceedings he delivered an analysis of how the concept of sovereignty applies in cyberspace.

Date: 21 December 2017

Read more University News