Chapter 6: Deterrence and International Agreements | Jack Goldsmith and a Berkman Center Cybersecurity Team | August 06, 2012


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Chapter 6: Deterrence and International Agreements

by Jack Goldsmith and a Berkman Center Cybersecurity Team Show/Hide
Purpose: This Chapter explores what nations can do in the face of cyberthreats in light of the fact that (as we learned in chapters 3-5) traditional law enforcement strategies are not terribly effective, and war is not a realistic tool except in the face of all but the most extreme cyberthreats. In particular, we discuss two strategies: deterrence and international agreements. (This chapter assumes a thorough understanding of chapters 3-5.)
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  1. 1 Show/Hide More 6.1 Deterrence
    Original Creator: Jack Goldsmith and a Berkman Center Cybersecurity Team
    Purpose: In this context, deterrence means unilateral threats and actions that one nation can take to dissuade another from engaging in undesirable cyber operations. (The concept is much more complex than this. For a flavor, see this Wikipedia entry.) Deterrence can take many forms. For example, the threat of unilateral criminal sanctions can be a form of deterrence; but for reasons discussed in chapter 4, it is not a terribly effective one. Threatened military responses can also be a form of deterrence. Indeed, it was in the context of nuclear weapons that the concept of deterrence has received its most thorough analysis in the international realm. This chapter examines several types of deterrence and studies the general challenges that the cyber realm presents to any form of deterrence.
    1. 1.1 Show/Hide More Joseph S. Nye Jr., Nuclear Lessons for Cybersecurity, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Winter 2011
      This article summarizes general lessons for cybersecurity from the experience with nuclear weapons. Nye focuses here on more issues than just deterrence, but the whole piece should be read. Make sure you read and understand Nye’s point in the end about softer forms of deterrence.
    2. 1.3 Show/Hide More Stephen Lukasik, A Framework for Thinking About Cyber Conflict and Cyber Deterrence with Possible Declaratory Policies for These Domains, Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy, 2010
      This article is more of the same, with a special emphasis on declaratory policy, which is a nation’s unilateral statement of intent (i.e. of threatened action) as a basis for deterrence.
  2. 2 Show/Hide More 6.2 International Agreements
    Original Creator: Jack Goldsmith and a Berkman Center Cybersecurity Team
    Purpose: This section further explains international agreements, as many scholars believe that all unilateral legal and deterrence strategies are doomed to failure in the cyber realm, and that only through mutual restraint fostered by international agreements can cyberthreats be contained.
    1. 2.1 Show/Hide More Abraham D. Sofaer, David Clark, and Whitfield Diffie, Cyber Security and International Agreements, Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring Cyberattacks, pp. 179-206, 2010
      This piece discusses how the threats to cybersecurity are currently being approached at the private, national, and international level, then demonstrates the potential for increased international cooperation. It explains the demand for cyber international agreements and their feasibility and usefulness. It also covers how to fashion effective international initiatives and the difficulties in such negotiations.
    2. 2.4 Show/Hide More Russian Proposal, Convention on International Information Security, November 2011
      This Convention shows how differently the Russians view the cybersecurity issue than the way the west conceives it.
    3. 2.5 Show/Hide More Jack Goldsmith, Cybersecurity Treaties: A Skeptical View, Future Challenges in National Security and Law, February 2011
      This article explains why international cooperation is considered central to the cybersecurity problem and examines three major hurdles to a global cybersecurity treaty. It explains why a cybersecurity agreement of the type Clark and Knake propose might not be feasible, and considers the feasibility of narrower and softer forms of cooperation.
    4. 2.6 Show/Hide More James Andrew Lewis, Confidence-building and International Agreement in Cybersecurity, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, 2011
      This article is skeptical about international agreements but somewhat more hopeful than Goldsmith.

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May 21, 2013


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