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Professor Lubin's contribution is "Cyber Law and Espionage Law as Communicating Vessels," pp. 203-225.

Existing legal literature would have us assume that espionage operations and “below-the-threshold” cyber operations are doctrinally distinct. Whereas one is subject to the scant, amorphous, and under-developed legal framework of espionage law, the other is subject to an emerging, ever-evolving body of legal rules, known cumulatively as cyber law. This dichotomy, however, is erroneous and misleading. In practice, espionage and cyber law function as communicating vessels, and so are better conceived as two elements of a complex system, Information Warfare (IW). This paper therefore first draws attention to the similarities between the practices – the fact that the actors, technologies, and targets are interchangeable, as are the knee-jerk legal reactions of the international community. In light of the convergence between peacetime Low-Intensity Cyber Operations (LICOs) and peacetime Espionage Operations (EOs) the two should be subjected to a single regulatory framework, one which recognizes the role intelligence plays in our public world order and which adopts a contextual and consequential method of inquiry. The paper proceeds in the following order: Part 2 provides a descriptive account of the unique symbiotic relationship between espionage and cyber law, and further explains the reasons for this dynamic. Part 3 places the discussion surrounding this relationship within the broader discourse on IW, making the claim that the convergence between EOs and LICOs, as described in Part 2, could further be explained by an even larger convergence across all the various elements of the informational environment. Parts 2 and 3 then serve as the backdrop for Part 4, which details the attempt of the drafters of the Tallinn Manual 2.0 to compartmentalize espionage law and cyber law, and the deficits of their approach. The paper concludes by proposing an alternative holistic understanding of espionage law, grounded in general principles of law, which is more practically transferable to the cyber realm


9789949990429 (print), 9789949990436 (.pdf)

Publication Date



NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence


Tallinn, Estonia


international law, information warfare, espionage, cyber law, Tallinn Manual 2.0, sovereignty, diplomatic law, consular law, general principles of law


Information Security | International Law | Internet Law | Law | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Science and Technology Law


Minárik, T., R. Jakschis, and L. Lindström. 10th International Conference on Cyber Conflict CyCon X: Maximising Effects. NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, 2018.

CyCon X is the tenth iteration of the annual International Conference on Cyber Conflict, organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and taking place in Tallinn from 29 May to 1 June 2018. Over the years, CyCon has become a world-recognised conference addressing cyber conflict and security from the perspectives of technology, strategy, operations, law, and policy. We are always glad to see our friends in Tallinn again – a number of them have been involved with CyCon since its origins a decade ago – and we also welcome newcomers, who can discover the cyber debates and ‘white night’ walks in Tallinn’s Old Town. We are proud to offer them all the opportunity to meet and learn something new from each other. If CyCon has been able to contribute to interdisciplinary understanding of cyber conflict and security throughout the years, then it has achieved its main goal.

CyCon X’s core topic is ‘Maximising Effects’. Since the very beginning, cyberspace has provided unparalleled opportunities to achieve effects in new and novel ways. Today, cyberspace provides a technological platform and an environment for diverse actors, with both good and bad motivations, to influence everyone and everything. Maximising effects in the cyber realm is important for business, media, governments and military, and even private users. However, how will this be achieved and what will the consequences be? How will AI, machine learning and big data help to maximise effects in cyberspace? How will international law develop in light of the serious effects of state-sponsored operations that may or may not be hard to attribute? The effects generated through cyberspace, including new instabilities and vulnerabilities, will require new policies, legal frameworks and technological solutions to maximise security.

In response to the Call for Papers in June 2017, almost 200 abstracts were submitted in October. After a careful selection and peer review by the Academic Review Committee, this book contains 22 articles whose authors were invited to present at the conference.

International Conference on Cyber Conflict, 30 May to 01 June 2018, Tallinn, Estonia.

Cyber Law and Espionage Law as Communicating Vessels