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Contemporary warfare yields a profound impact on the rights to privacy and data protection. Technological advances in the fields of electronic surveillance, predictive algorithms, big data analytics, user-generated evidence, artificial intelligence, cloud storage, facial recognition, and cryptography are redefining the scope, nature, and contours of military operations. Yet, international humanitarian law offers very few, if any, lex specialis rules for the lawful processing, analysis, dissemination, and retention of personal information. This edited anthology offers a pioneering account of the current and potential future application of digital rights in armed conflict.

In Part I Mary Ellen O’Connell, Tal Mimran and Yuval Shany, Laurie Blank and Eric Talbot Jensen, Jacqueline Van De Velde, Omar Yousef Shehabi and Emily Crawford explore how various IHL regimes, ranging from the rules regarding the protection of property to these regulating the treatment of POWs, protect the rights to digital privacy and data protection.

Part II, which contains contributions by Leah West, Eliza Watt and Tara Davenport, and concentrates on the extent to which specific technological tools and solutions, such as facial recognition, drone surveillance and underwater cables.

Part III of this collection examines the obligations of militaries and humanitarian organizations when it comes to the protection of digital rights. Tim Cochrane focuses on military data subject access rights, Deborah Housen-Couriel explores data protection in multinational military operations, and Asaf Lubin expounds the role of ICRC as a data controller in the context of humanitarian action.

In Part IV Kristina Hellwig, Yaël Ronen and Amir Cahane focus on digital rights in the post bellum phase. This part takes a closer look at the role of the right to privacy in the investigation and prosecution of international crimes, the ‘right to be forgotten’ in cases concerning information about international crimes and the protection of the digital identities of individuals caught up in humanitarian disasters.


9789916956562 (print), 9789916956571 (pdf)

Publication Date



NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence


Tallinn, Estonia


Warfare, lex specialis, Data protection, Privacy


Human Rights Law | International Humanitarian Law | International Law | Internet Law | Law | Military, War, and Peace | National Security Law | Science and Technology Law


In addition to being one of the editors, Professor Lubin co-wrote the Introduction and wrote Chapter 12, "Data Protection as an International Legal Obligation for International Organizations: The ICRC as a Case Study"

This open access publication can also be found on the NATO CCDCOE Publications Website.

Complete bibliographic details for the ebook version are available in IUCAT.

Complete bibliographic details for the paper edition version are available in IUCAT. Paper copy available in the Jerome Hall Law Library, JZ 6405 .P74 R53 2022 (Faculty Publications collection)

The Right to Privacy and Data Protection in Times of Armed Conflict