Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2014
This chapter begins by observing that human rights advocates have, to date, behaved differently with respect to cyberweapons than they have with development, deployment, proliferation, and use of many old and new weapons. This apparent indifference exists even when experts depict cyberspace awash with cyberweapons used by state and non-state actors with impunity in attacks against civilian and governmental computer networks. To explain this situation, the chapter first analyses the technological aspects of cyberweapons and how these aspects relate to human rights thinking. It next probes the human rights features of the categories of cybersecurity threats: cybercrime, terrorism, espionage, war, and attacks on political opposition. The prospects of belligerents using cyberweapons in armed conflict raise a complex set of human rights issues, especially how human rights law relates to IHL during armed conflicts. However, the complexity does not generate problems in kind or on a scale that human rights experts have not previously confronted in conventional armed conflicts. In fact, existing experiences with cyberweapons suggest that such weapons pose less threat to human rights interests than traditional military weaponry and tactics.