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Panel Discussion on “Possible Human Cost of Cyber Warfare”

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  • September 11, 2018
    Round Table
    Only by Invitation
    0930 to 1300 hrs


    Seminar Hall I, Second Floor

    Concept Note

    Today information and communication technology has stirred innovation in an unprecedented fashion. Like any other technology, this technology also presents opportunities and challenges. Lawyers and technical experts agree that the potential of computer network attacks is considerable, raising questions about the application of international humanitarian law (IHL) and even the definition of "armed conflict" itself. There is no specific mention of cyber warfare or computer network attacks in the Geneva Conventions or their Additional Protocols. But the principles and rules in these treaties governing the means and methods of warfare are not restricted to situations that existed at the time of their adoption. IHL clearly anticipated advances in weapons' technology and the development of new means and methods of waging war.
    The idea of cyber warfare or computer network attack in armed conflict is very new. So much so that the discussion about its potential impact is often speculative. It may be noted that all hostile cyber operations may not amount to 'attacks' within the meaning of IHL. Cyber attacks, for the purposes of IHL, are cyber operations that are reasonably expected to cause injury or death to persons or damage or destruction of objects. It is immaterial whether such cyber attacks are offensive or defensive for the purposes of applicability of IHL. The purpose of this panel discussion is to understand the potential human cost of Cyber warfare.
    The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have recently decided to create a permanent ‘Technology and Humanitarian Policy Platform’ (the Platform) to generate debate and discussion on regional and global policy on the interface between new technologies and humanitarian issues through a programme of research, publications, training and outreach events. As a part of this initiative, the Platform would like to organize a Panel Discussion on ‘The possible human cost of cyber warfare’ jointly with the Institute for Defence and Security Analyses.