Table of Contents

Research Handbook on International Law and Cyberspace

Research Handbook on International Law and Cyberspace

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Nicholas Tsagourias and Russell Buchan

This timely Research Handbook contains an analysis of various legal questions concerning cyberspace and cyber activities and provides a critical account of their effectiveness. Expert contributors examine the application of fundamental international law principles to cyberspace such as sovereignty, jurisdiction, state responsibility, individual criminal responsibility, and intellectual property rights. In addition to this, they explore the application of international law rules to cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, cyber crime, cyber attacks and cyber war and discuss the cyber security policies of international and regional institutions.

Chapter 3: State responsibility in cyberspace

Constantine Antonopoulos

Subjects: law - academic, internet and technology law, public international law, regulation and governance, terrorism and security law


The commission of internationally wrongful acts in cyberspace may lead to the responsibility of States. However, there appears to be substantial difficulty in applying the existing legal framework introduced in the International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility (2001). This difficulty concerns the rules on attribution of an act in cyberspace to a particular State. Attribution in the law as it currently stands is focused on the link of natural persons to a specific State; but this is nearly impossible to establish in the case of cyber acts for they are ascribed to computers, the users of which remain largely unidentified. Therefore, as computers constituting the source of wrongful acts may be traced to the territory of particular States the best solution would be to establish a breach of the duty of due diligence on the part of the State from the which injurious cyber acts emanate. Evidence in this respect would seek to prove that the State from which the injurious act emanated had knowledge that the act occurred in its territory and a more flexible approach to its evaluation should be admitted.

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