Book Review: Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations: In Search of Cyber Peace

By: Charles BjorkImage

Scott J. ShackelfordManaging Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations:  In Search of Cyber Peace  (Cambridge University Press, 2014). 434 p. Hardcover $99.00.

The National Academy of Sciences defines the term “cyber attack” as a deliberate attempt to alter, disrupt, deceive, degrade or destroy computer systems or networks and the programs that run on them.  In recent years, this once obscure term has entered the mainstream.  Hardly a month goes by without a cyber attack making headlines – from the breach of customer data at Target, to the hacking of emails and theft of intellectual property at Sony Pictures Entertainment, to the hijacking the Pentagon’s social media accounts by ISIS.  As a result, the issue of cyber security has captured the attention of policymakers around the world, including President Obama.

In the wake of these developments, the need for a comprehensive survey of cyber security law and governance has never been greater.  Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations:  In Search of Cyber Peace, by Scott J. Shackelford, ably fills this need.  The author, a member of the faculty at Indiana University and a senior fellow at the Center for Applied Cybersecurity, begins with a brief overview of the history of Internet governance.  He contrasts the initial period of organic, bottom-up governance exemplified by ad hoc entities like the Internet Engineering Task Force, which still develops and publishes the standards for Internet transfer protocols, with the subsequent emergence of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a centralized, top-down entity created to manage IP addresses and domain names.

In the following chapter, Shackelford turns to the future of Internet governance, which will be dominated by the need for enhanced cyber security and demands for greater national and international regulation.   A recurring theme throughout this chapter and the remainder of the book is that a fragmented and dynamic ecosystem like cyberspace is too complex to be successfully governed by a unitary regulatory framework.  Shackelford makes a persuasive case that the best way forward is a system of “polycentric governance,” which he defines as regulation at multiple levels by overlapping sets of state and non-state actors employing a combination of national law, international norms, industry standards and best practices, and market forces to achieve a desired end.  This “all-of-the-above” approach relies on multi-stakeholder governance to harness the benefits of both top-down and bottom-up regulatory regimes while avoiding their respective shortcomings.

The second section of the book focuses on managing vulnerabilities in cyber space.  Shackelford begins this section by describing the three-layered structure of the Internet and assessing the principal weaknesses of each layer:  the physical infrastructure (hardware), the logical infrastructure (software), and the content layer (data and users).  This is followed by a discussion of the most common types of cyber weapons, including spyware, Trojan horses, viruses, worms, logic bombs, and distributed denial of service attacks.  In the next two chapters, Shackelford examines the steps being taken by national governments to safeguard critical national infrastructure (CNI) from cyber attacks and efforts to enhance cyber security in the private sector through the development of industry standards and best practices.  Readers interested in pursuing any of the foregoing topics in greater depth may rely on Shackelford’s copious footnotes to guide them.

The final section of the book is devoted to the role of international legal norms in cyber governance.  Shackelford begins this section by assessing the applicability of existing international law, particularly the law of armed conflict, to cyberspace.  A recurring theme in this section of the book is the vexing problem of attribution.  How can we accurately identify the perpetrators of cyber attacks, especially when shadowy, non-state actors (who may or may not be operating under the direction or at the behest of a national government) are involved?   In the final chapter, Shackelford examines the prospects for developing new international norms for cyber governance.

Writing for a wide audience about a subject grounded in technology is no easy task.  Fortunately, Shackelford manages to make the underlying technical issues intelligible to lay readers without dumbing things down to the point that those with technical expertise will lose interest.  His explanation of how the routing protocols that make the Internet flexible and scalable have also left it vulnerable to security breaches is especially helpful.

Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations: In Search of Cyber Peace would make a welcome and timely addition to any law library seeking to augment its existing collection in the fields of law and technology and national security law.  For libraries operating under budgetary constraints, this broad survey of cyber security issues provides an excellent alternative to purchasing multiple titles on related but narrower topics, such as cyber crime and cyber warfare.

Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal

By Mary Whisner

This post originally appeared on Gallagher Blogs.

After the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the UN set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). This historic tribunal delivered its last trial judgment in December 2012 and is now winding down its appellate work.

In 2008,  a team from Seattle—including information scientists, lawyers, and videographers—went to Tanzania (where the tribunal is) and Rwanda to interview judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, interpreters, court administrators, and others connected with the ICTR. The result is 49 video interviews, publicly available on the Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal website as well as carefully archived for the future. The project’s principal investigator is Prof. Batya Friedman, from the UW Information School.

The project’s vision is to “provide to the world, especially the people of Rwanda, free and open access to these interviews with personnel from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).”

Our intention is to enable as many innovative, derivative uses as possible. We imagine such uses may include documentaries on Rwanda, textbooks discussing genocide, Pan-African justice capacity building, blogs, school projects, a handbook for future tribunals, plays, performances, legal curricula, and reconciliation projects within Rwanda. We are currently designing information systems to support appropriation and use within Rwanda, within the international justice system, and for the global public, now and into the future.

Any user can watch the videos. Users can also select clips and label them to highlight them for others. For example, someone watched the interview with Judge Dennis Byron, the President of the tribunal, and marked a clip on “the need for international criminal justice to become routine [1:17].” And someone marked a clip from the interview of Hassan Jallow, the chief prosecutor, on “the limitations of legal justice [1:48].” (The staff have to process the clips for start and stop times, so if you mark one it won’t be displayed immediately.)

Users can tag clips. Interestingly, the form for tagging invites users to identify nationality, gender, birth decade, and profession or interest. As the tags accumulate, the team will be able to get a sense of the tags used by Rwandans, Africans, and others; by people born before or after the genocide; by journalists, high school students, lawyers, or historians. That will help evolve future access responsive to different communities.

The site is still being developed. This spring searchable transcripts of each interview will be posted.

Here’s a short video about the project:

First Time Teaching FCIL Research: Initial Class Meetings

By Alexis Fetzerred-legal-scales-hi

We are now five classes into the semester of my first time offered course of International & Foreign Legal Research at the University of Richmond School of Law. Each class thus far has been a significant learning experience. You truly never master a subject until you are asked to teach it.

During our first week I gave an introduction on researching international law generally. I wanted to draw similarities between the legal research process students are familiar with in researching domestic law and then apply that to the international legal research context. One thing highlighted was the importance of beginning research using research guides and secondary sources. In emphasizing the utility of research guides I have assigned a corresponding research guide for the topic considered each week as material to be consulted prior to class. This way students not only get an idea of the type of sources we will be discussing, but can also see the value of having such a compilation.

I also emphasized secondary sources in this first class. As with any unfamiliar legal research topic, secondary sources are always a good place to begin to gain a better understanding of the subject matter you are researching. With international law, however, sometimes these sources can be the only means of searching for primary material by subject. If they took away nothing from this first class, I wanted them to take away this concept. Max Planck’s Encyclopedia of International Law was a great source to highlight for this purpose. An entry in Max Planck can quite literally “direct” you to primary authority through use of the Oxford law citators. A great example of this is the Max Planck entry for “UNCITRAL”. The first paragraph indicates that UNCITRAL was established by “UNGA Resolution 2205 (XXI) of 17 December 1966.” Clicking on the link to this resolution, you are directed to an Oxford Law Citator entry which then allows you to navigate to where this document can be found on an external web resource.

Following this introductory class, we covered U.S. and non-U.S. treaty sources. Having spoken on this topic before, including guest FCIL research lectures in our law school’s general Advanced Legal Research class, I was confident this area would not be difficult to prepare for. This was true, but now I had more of an opportunity to expand upon the information delivered and give my students more practical instruction with treaty research.

The next topic we addressed was researching intergovernmental/nongovernmental organizations. This transitioned nicely from non-US treaty resources since the students were already familiar with the UN Treaty database. While we discussed the elements of an intergovernmental organization and how to find nongovernmental organizations, much of the material was focused on the United Nations. In the future, I may consider researching United Nations material as a part of its own separate class. We could have gone into much more depth but I made the mistake of allotting this topic to a single class.

In contrast, I do not believe my next week’s topic of international courts and tribunals should not have been allotted an entire class worth of material. While I like the idea of transitioning from talking about intergovernmental organizations to talking about their judicial organs, I could have summarized this information without discussing individual international courts and the type of material they produce. The students quickly grasped the material and the in class exercises proved rather simplistic.

Thus far, each class has been a tremendous learning opportunity. One of the benefits of only having 5 students is that there is constant dialogue and questioning. My students are keeping me on my toes and forcing me to answer questions I have yet to think of myself. In those moments where I clearly do not have the answer, I never shy from admitting to it. Instead, I tell them “let me make sure I give you the correct answer to that at a later time” and always make a point of following up either through email or in the next class.

Book Review: Refashioning Secularisms in France and Turkey: The Case of the Headscarf Ban

CoverBy: Mary Beth Chappell Lyles

Amélie Barras, Refashioning Secularisms in France and Turkey: The Case of the Headscarf Ban (Routledge, 2014). 182 p. Hardcover $145.00.

In Refashioning Secularisms in France and Turkey: The Case of the Headscarf BanAmélie Barras explores the struggle between the codified state concepts of secularism in France and Turkey and the Muslim activists who try to navigate and reform them. Moving beyond the idea of a simple separation of church and state, Barras thoroughly explores the French concept of laïcité and the Turkish concept of laiklik detailing both countries’ historical practices of heavy state involvement in religious affairs, especially those of minorities. Through the particular example of the headscarf ban, Barras traces the discourse surrounding secularism in France and Turkey and highlights how it impacts and often marginalizes observant Muslim women.

Barras astutely observes of the current situation that “tensions have not been triggered by women wearing headscarves per se, but rather by the precise fact that they have been wearing it while demanding active participation in the life of the polity and to be fully-fledged citizens,” which serves to challenge “aspects of the model of citizenship imagined by secular elites—a model characterized by a ‘neuter’ woman emancipated from her differences, and by an inherently dualistic thinking where religion (or particular religious expressions) are understood as being opposed to the secular (and by correlation secular spaces) .”

Barras skillfully illustrates her arguments with fascinating examples taken from real life. Her description of the spillover effect of headscarf bans in Turkey was particularly enlightening. Noting that the headscarf ban in Turkey has officially only been applied to students and government workers, Barras, describes the real-world consequences of the ban. White-collar women working for private firms are relegated to inferior back office jobs with lower pay and less job security under the rationale that they cannot interact with government officials in government settings while wearing their headscarves. That is if a firm will hire them at all. Barras’ argues that the state’s assignment of an inflexible, one-dimensional identity to these women bars them from full citizenship.

This thorough, well-written book is a fascinating read, especially for the American reader who will bring a very different conception of religious freedom and the separation of church of state to the material. It is highly recommended for all academic libraries as well as organizations with interests in countries where headscarf bans exist.

Anna Wiberg of Lund University on the Introduction to European Business Law MOOC

By Anna Wiberg

Anna WibergSome weeks ago, Lund University’s first MOOC, Introduction to European Business Law, started.  It is an introductory course that teaches students the essentials of European Business Law. For some students it may also be followed by studies at the Master’s Programme in European Business Law at Lund University in Sweden.

Members of Lund University’s law faculty were chosen to create the MOOC because of their previous experience in making films for online courses.  I am one of the librarians on the faculty that helped create the course.  I appear on films throughout the course that focus on how to find and use European Union materials.  My colleague, Annika Hellbring, and I created the PowerPoint slides and talking points that appear on these films. The aim of these films is to support students taking the course; to make it easier to find and read the documents you need during the course or when practicing European Union law.

The faculty is often involved in new areas and projects and for many years I was part of a project that the faculty had together with the law faculties in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This included many discussions and teaching sessions in both Lund and Vietnam. It was therefore natural for the law faculty and the library to collaborate in a MOOC.

The actual filming process for the MOOC occurred in August 2014. It was both scary and interesting to be in the studio, to use a teleprompter and to act in front of the camera for the very first time. When sound, picture and speech were put together by the production team and when I finally saw the films, I was impressed by the construction, even though it is hard to ignore the somewhat odd feeling of watching myself on the screen.

I began my employment at Lund University in 2003.  There are six librarians on the Lund University faculty with me, all specialists in different areas. An extensive part of our work is to support our researchers, to educate the students in information skills, to handle the European Documentation Center and of course, to build excellent printed and digital collections. Besides many other things, I mainly work with teaching the students how to search, find and evaluate legal documents. I enjoy working closely with the students and I find it challenging to support the students to develop their information literacy. The library is well integrated in the law faculty and has an ongoing discussion with the teachers about the learning outcomes in the area of information skills.

I am sure that the faculty will produce more courses and more films, and I would not hesitate to be involved again.

In the meantime, for a refresher on European Business Law research, join the MOOC for free!

Introducing…Ellen Schaffer as the February FCIL Librarian of the Month

Schaffer photo1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Manhattan and never thought I would live anywhere else until I did.  Since 1973 when I left NYC, I’ve lived in 4 different countries!

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?

I first selected librarianship as a career that would allow me to use my languages. It was only later that I was fortunate enough to find my place in international law librarianship. I was working as a reference librarian at the Organization of American States and was asked to give a presentation on Latin American business resources at a Special Libraries Association’s annual meeting. I met Igor Kavass there. It’s a rather long story, but the short version is that with his advice, I ended up as the Foreign Law Librarian at the University of Miami. After one year there, I moved back to Washington DC as the International and Foreign Law Librarian at the Georgetown University Law Center. Every position I have held has allowed me to use my languages and has encouraged my interest in international relations.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?

I spent summers during high school in Oaxaca, Mexico and was a Latin American Studies major in college in Mexico and in the U.S. I was always interested in Latin America and foreign languages. My years working at the Organization of American States introduced me to the “world” of FCIL subjects.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there? 

After leaving the United Nations in Chile, I returned to the Washington DC area where I had lived and worked for so many years. In September 2012, I began to work part-time on projects at the Pence Law Library at American University’s Washington College of Law.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages? 

Principally Romance languages, but in particular, Spanish, some Portuguese, some French and then, some German.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement? 

There are two things that come to mind. I would mention the development of the international law collection at the Georgetown University Law Center’s law library. Building that collection over a 15 year period was a wonderful experience that taught me a great deal about foreign, comparative and international law. It was an exciting time to be at Georgetown and to work with a stellar faculty and library staff.

Then, I need to mention the FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians. In 2001, when I expressed my interest in establishing the grant to AALL’s Executive Director, there was no way to know how meaningful the grant would become to both its recipients and to the Association’s membership. Over the past years, there have been recipients from the Kyrgyz Republic, the Philippines, Georgia, Egypt, China, Australia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Argentina, India, Norway and The Netherlands. We should know who the 2015 recipient is in the near future.

The grant recipients have all shared their knowledge and experience with other law librarians by making a presentation at an FCIL-sponsored meeting or event. Then, after the conference, the recipients have provided short article or report for the Fall issue of the FCIL-SIS newsletter. One welcome benefit that has developed over the years is that when one of our AALL members has had a need for help in locating information or publications from one of the countries represented by the Grant’s recipients, they have invariably been helpful and generous with their time and assistance.

7. What is your biggest food weakness? 

Anything salty.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance? 


9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)? 

Over the past years, it would have been to know more German! At this point though, I would say that I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you not go a day without? 

Well, I would say coffee … but for me, that would be a basic necessity.

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

Carpe diem. You never know when a wonderful and totally unexpected opportunity might be just around the corner.