Little Green Cyber Men: Seminar on Ethics of Cyber Conflict

A group of students from FIH (Forsvarets Ingeniørhøgskole) visited NTNU i Gjøvik on Monday for a joint seminar on Ethics of Cyber Conflict.

It is likely that future conflicts will have substantial cyber elements to them. Many nations have not only been active in building capabilities, but have in some cases been deploying these for both tactical and strategic ends.

Such conflicts inevitably bring ethical challenges with them and may well also be questionable in international law. An attack on an electrical power network may well shut down critical hospital facilities. Is such a cyber attack on a nation’s national critical infrastructure ever justifiable if it means that this can affect non-combatants? As with other conflicts, however, both ethics and international law impose bounds on what is permissible or ethically sound.

Among the presenters were professor in philosophy May Thorseth (photo above). The students were given an introduction to cyber conflict and war, as well as international law and cyber warfare. They worked with different cases to discuss and reflect on various ethical issues.

Photo: Stephen Wolthusen