Social Practices of Rule-Making for International Law in the Cyber Domain.

Mark Raymond in Journal of Global Security Studies.

20 February 2020


In 2013, despite deteriorating relations between Russia and the United States and increased global contention over cybersecurity issues, participating states in the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly agreed on a landmark report endorsing the applicability of existing international law to state military use of information technology. Given these conditions, the timing of this agreement was surprising. In this article I argue that state representatives engaged in a rule-governed social practice of applying old rules to new cases, and that the procedural rules governing this practice help to explain the existence, timing, and form of the agreement. They also help to explain further agreements expressed in a follow-on report issued in 2015. The findings of the case study presented here demonstrate that social practices of rule-making are simultaneously rule-governed and politically contested, and that outcomes of these processes have been shaped by specialized rules for making, interpreting, and applying rules. The effectiveness of procedural rules in shaping the outcome of a contentious, complex global security issue suggests that such rules are likely to matter even more in simpler cases dealing with less contentious issues.

Read the full article here


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