Universiteit Leiden

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Cyber Insecurity and the Politics of International Law

Monday 2 October 2017
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague

About the lecture

As the threat landscape in cyberspace has become multifaceted, characterised by an increasing number and range of vulnerabilities and actors, the question of cybersecurity has been placed firmly on the international agenda. Today, the question is no longer whether, but how cyberspace should be governed in order to ensure cybersecurity around the world. It is in this context that international lawyers have also begun wrestling with the question of how they might contribute to the security and stability of cyberspace.

Against this background, this lecture seeks to map the different modalities by which international lawyers have attempted to promote and preserve cybersecurity to date. Two of the most common modalities of engagement are identified: first, as law-articulators, international lawyers have sought to identify the extent to which existing international legal frameworks already apply to cyber activities; and second, as law-entrepreneurs, international lawyers have sought to devise new international rules to respond to the unique challenges posed by cybersecurity. Bearing in mind the limits of these forms of engagement, the lecture identifies the emergence of a third modality: as norm-articulators and norm-entrepreneurs, international lawyers are beginning to broaden their perspective beyond international cyber law towards a concern for global cyber norms.

Ultimately, the lecture aims to shed light on the politics of these different modalities of engagement – where “politics” is understood to refer to the choices confronted by international lawyers in their attempts to respond to perceived problems of the world with a view to managing them. In this vein, the lecture seeks to offer a clear illustration of how the engagement of international lawyers in a particular context constitutes an expression of the political.

About the speaker

Dr. Barrie Sander is a Visiting Fellow of The Hague Program for Cyber Norms at Leiden University’s Institute of Security and Global Affairs. Barrie Sander is also a Visiting Researcher at FGV Direito Rio, Brazil. He recently completed his PhD in International Law (summa cum laude avec félicitations du jury) at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. His research interests include international criminal justice, technology and human rights, and cybersecurity. Barrie is co-founder of Just Innovate, a Swiss-based association whose mission is to inspire and facilitate social innovation amongst student communities. Previously, Barrie qualified as a Solicitor of England and Wales at Herbert Smith LLP (now Herbert Smith Freehills LLP) where he focused on public international law and investment treaty arbitration. He also has experience at a variety of international institutions including the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the EU Delegation to the UN in New York. Barrie read Law at Jesus College, Cambridge University and earned an LL.M. in Public International Law (cum laude) at Leiden University.


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