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Intervention in National and Private Cyberspace and International Law

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Chapter Summary

The National Security Agency (NSA) affair has raised the issue of surveillance in cyberspace on the international agenda. The first media reports in June 2013 concerned data collection by the US NSA of domestic and international telephone calls as well as of Internet traffic, but subsequent reports have revealed that the NSA has also been involved in 'hacking' into government computers of foreign states. Even though this has sparked a bit of a debate between international lawyers as to the lawfulness of these activities, until now, the international legal doctrine has not had very much to say on these matters. This chapter argues that an intrusion by a state in foreign national cyberspace may be prohibited even if it does not amount to the use of force, both as a violation of sovereignty and as a violation of human rights.

Keywords: foreign national cyberspace; hacking; human rights; international lawyers; international legal doctrine; Internet traffic; US national security agency (NSA) affair



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