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The Legal Issues of Information Warfare
Maj David J. DiCenso, USAF, Retired
SHOULD INFORMATION-WARFARE techniques be viewed as weapons or as another instrument of foreign policy? This article briefly delves into the treaties and laws governing warfare from an information-war perspective. Do these treaties and criminal laws prohibit the bulk of the most technologically effective techniques from being used, particularly during peacetime?
By and large, many of the legal parameters of information warfare (IW) are, as yet, ambiguous. This uncertainty can only be resolved through open and frank discussion of just where information-warfare operations fit into foreign policy, international relations, and the international legal environment. The problem is that a nation or actor may well take advantage of the ambiguities that exist and force us to attempt to resolve these issues long before we are prepared to even address them. This article is a modest step to suggest a paradigm for analysis of these issues before we find ourselves backed into the proverbial corner and are forced to choose between no response and a vigilante-style response.