Brooklyn Journal of International Law

A Keystroke Causes a Tornado: Applying Chaos Theory to International Cyber Warfare Law

July 23, 2020

By Daniel B. Garrie & Masha Simanova

Cyber warfare today finds itself on the front page of the news daily. It is increasingly apparent that the cyber domain demands more guidance, with leaders opting for the deployment of cyber capabilities to bypass kinetic warfare norms. Proposed solutions abound, but none adequately address the specific features of cyber warfare that set it apart from traditional kinetic warfare.

This Article argues that a new legal framework is necessary to properly address this problem, and such a doctrine should incorporate principles of chaos theory. Chaos theory is a branch of mathematics dealing with complex systems, with the most well-known example of chaos theory being the butterfly effect, which posits that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can cause a tornado in Texas. Similarly, a keystroke made in the United States can debilitate an Iranian intelligence agency, and in order to address this phenomenon, legal frameworks have to modernize to account for the features that make such consequences possible in the first place.

To read the full article, go to Brooklyn Journal of International Law

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