lighting, Diplomacy

Cyber-diplomacy web discussion: Applicability of international law to cyberspace

07 November 2019 -


Event description

DiploFoundation is pleased to invite you to the cyber-diplomacy web discussion Applicability of international law to cyberspace: Do we know the rules of the road? This webinar is the second in a series of cyber-diplomacy web discussions, organised by DiploFoundation with the support of Microsoft, following the discussion Cyber-armament: A heavy impact on peace, economic development, and human rights. The series will focus on risks for international peace and security stemming from cyberspace, and host a number of distinguished international discussants.

[UPDATE] The recording and the summary of the WebDebate are now available.

As cyberspace increasingly gets (mis)used by states for military purposes, international negotiations on rules of behaviour in cyberspace evolve, in particular within the UN context. DiploFoundation, with the support of Microsoft, is organising a series of cyber-diplomacy web discussions which aim to map trends, introduce challenges, clarify open issues on the negotiation table, outline processes where discussions are happening, and explain how all of us can get involved. 

The cyber-diplomacy web discussion Applicability of international law to cyberspace: Do we know the rules of the road? will look into the international rules that are already in place, and the challenges of their applicability.

Thursday, 7th November 2019, 13 UTC (14 CET)


Possible issues for discussion include:

What is the right to self-defence against cyber-attacks, and how do parties see possible ways to respond? How do cyber-attacks impact sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of states? What are the impacts on human rights and fundamental freedoms? Where are these issues discussed? How to get involved and make an impact?

This webinar is the second in a series of cyber-diplomacy web discussions which will consist of four hour-long webinars, running from October to December 2019. Each debate will involve recognised international experts in the field, and a senior fellow of DiploFoundation as the moderator. Thematic focus of the web discussions will be on pertinent issues related to ongoing global negotiations about responsible behaviour in cyberspace: trends and impacts of cyber-armament, applicability of international law to cyberspace, challenges of traceability and attribution of cyber-attack, and perspectives and applicability of norms and confidence building measures. To make the webinars ‘actionable’ and help participants get involved, the webinars will discuss open issues, effects on security, human rights and economic development, and review existing processes and avenues of contributions by various actors.



  • Prof Robin Geiss, Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security (GCILS)
  • Deborah Housen-Couriel (Adv.), Chief Legal Officer and VP Regulation, Konfidas Ltd., Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Research Associate, ICT at ICT Herzliya


Host and moderator

  • Dr Jovan Kurbalija, the Executive Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP)


Timeline for the entire series:


For background information about the context, and the open and controversial issues discussed in the main negotiation tracks – the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (UN GGE) and the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) – visit the dedicated GIP Digital Watch page.