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Will NATO Begin to Pretend That Computer Hacking Can Legally Trigger WAR?


Here's Michael Scott Moore:

The question first came up when Estonian government servers went down in 2007, under a “denial-of-service” attack that seemed — but was never proven — to come officially from Russia. Estonia was a new member of NATO and felt bullied by its former Soviet big brother.

But the question was awkward, and it came up again when Georgian servers went down just before Russian tanks invaded a Georgian province in 2008. (Georgia also wants NATO membership as a shield against Russia.) Were cyber-attacks warfare, and should they trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which provides for collective self-defense? Should the U.S. and Europe consider launching ships and planes against Moscow if servers go down again in some new NATO capital, somewhere on the old Soviet frontier?

A group of experts assembled by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright suggested to NATO last spring that cyberwarfare had emerged as a major concern for the alliance — one of three modes of attack its members had to worry about.

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