A Death Knell for the International Norms of Cyber Conflict – US Military Academy

My essay for the Modern War Institute, US Military Academy at West Point: https://mwi.usma.edu/death-knell-international-norms-cyber-conflict/.

On July 8, Michael Schmitt, a law professor and former judge advocate in the US Air Force, posted a perplexing tweet about changing his mind on the “status of cyber capabilities as ‘weapons.’” He followed it up with the link to a recent paper he coauthored for the International Law Studies journal of the US Naval War College.

Continue reading “A Death Knell for the International Norms of Cyber Conflict – US Military Academy”

Deconstructing Ciaran Martin’s speech in 18 tweets

Ciaran Martin was the founder of the UK’s National Cyber Security Center and the former head of cyber operations at GCHQ. He gave a thought-provoking speech busting many myths around cyber power and cyber operations (text and video ).

I try to deconstruct it in 18 tweets. Click on the tweet to follow the thread:

Congratulations, it’s a cyber norm!

“Russia creates conditions in which liberal democracies are forced to debate about the introduction of censorship for the sake of national security and sovereignty (Barandiy, 2018).”

Due to the biases which emerge from legal determinism influenced by analogical reasoning, the cyber policy community often ends up ignoring the actual cases of normative behavior in cyberspace. Okay, if not normative behavior then at least a semblance of some kind of customary law.

Continue reading “Congratulations, it’s a cyber norm!”

It has nothing to do with Facebook – The Quint

A very contrarian piece for The Quint: https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/facebook-politics-hate-speech-controversy-indian-government-modi-freedom-of-speech-activism.

The recent investigative reports by TIME and the Wall Street Journal on Facebook’s content handling and lobbying activities have triggered an intense political debate in India.

On the one hand, Facebook’s moderation of hateful content in India seems to have been influenced by business and political imperatives; on the other, it appears as if the relationship between its public policy team and the ruling political dispensation was too close for comfort.

Continue reading “It has nothing to do with Facebook – The Quint”

An observation on the Debbins affair

An observation on the Debbins affair:

Continue reading “An observation on the Debbins affair”

A ‘perfect’ disinformation op during the India-China-Australia tensions?

“Almost all disinformation operations are imperfect by design, run not by perfectionists, but pragmatists.”

— Thomas Rid in Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare

As Thomas Rid quips in his book Active Measures, cyber-enabled information operations are more active but less measured. So, it is rare to see the instance of an old-school disinformation operation that seems to have served its purpose quite effectively.

Active Measures, in the general sense of the term, are rarely this successful, so the operation I am going to discuss certainly stands out.

Continue reading “A ‘perfect’ disinformation op during the India-China-Australia tensions?”

On China, it’s time to consider cyber operations – Hindustan Times

My opinion piece for Hindustan Times: https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/on-china-it-s-time-to-consider-cyber-operations/story-crMraUyDc64taDRHMhEnhP.html.

The recent border clashes between India and China have led analysts, habituated to conventional warfare, to compare the relative strengths of the two adversaries in terms of the number of tanks, aircraft and other military paraphernalia.

It appears that Indian strategic discourse has yet again discounted cyber operations as an instrument of power projection, which could have offered a degree of flexibility when it comes to coercing, compelling and imposing costs on the contentious neighbour. This is unfortunate considering how much Indian think-tanks have glamourised the cyber domain.

Continue reading “On China, it’s time to consider cyber operations – Hindustan Times”