Legal and ethical aspects of cyber operations


The “Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations” (1) is one of the most comprehensive studies on the applicability of international law to cyberspace conflict, and thus cyber operations. In this study, multiple legal experts derived 154 rules from existing law. Several opinions on these rules were divided, so interpretation of the rules remains open for discussion.In this assignment, you will examine two of these rules, consider the ethical and legal aspects of these rules, and offer your perspective on each.The specific course learning outcome associated with this assignment is:

  • Review the legal and ethical aspects of cyber operations.

This course requires the use of Strayer Writing Standards. For assistance and information, please refer to the Strayer Writing Standards link in the left-hand menu of your course. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.


Write a 3- to 5-page paper in which you evaluate Rules 4 and 9.

Rule 4

Rule 4 states that, according to international law, a state must not conduct cyberspace operations that violate the sovereignty of another state. A large part of cyber operations includes performing the collection of detailed intelligence on another state. This reconnaissance and access is often done “without causing physical damage or loss in functionality” at the targeted state. (1)

  • Describe the laws and rules that govern sovereignty, citing specific, credible sources that support your assertions and conclusions.
  • Explain why a state would want to collect intelligence, why it might be required ethically, and whether cyber operations that collect detailed intelligence on another state violate its sovereignty. 
    • Provide a thorough, researched rationale for your perspective.
Rule 9

Rule 9 states that a state may exercise territorial jurisdiction over cyberspace infrastructure and persons engaged in cyberspace activities within its territory; cyberspace activities originating in, or completed within, its territory; or cyberspace activities having a substantial effect within its territory. A large part of cyber operations includes transmitting data—usually encrypted—which, because of network routing, may transit through the territorial cyberspace architecture of another state. (1)

  • Describe the laws and rules that govern territorial jurisdiction, citing specific, credible sources.
  • Explain whether cyber operations that collect detailed intelligence on another state may exercise jurisdiction over data that traverses its territory, citing specific, credible sources that support your assertions and conclusions. 
    • Provide a thorough, researched rationale for your perspective.
Source Citations and Writing
  • Support your main points, assertions, arguments, or conclusions with at least three specific and credible academic references synthesized into a coherent analysis of the evidence. 
    • Cite each source listed on your references page at least one time within your assignment.
    • For help with research, writing, and citation, access the library or review library guides.
  • Write clearly and concisely in a manner that is well-organized, grammatically correct, and free of spelling, typographical, formatting, and/or punctuation errors. 
    • Use section headers in your paper to clearly delineate your main topics.

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