Utkarsh Srivastava writes on rights and obligations in Cyberspace.

Abstract

The days of the use of projectiles and bullets in inter-state offensives are nearing an end. So are the days of fraud and extortion where the criminal and the victim stood face to face. The world today is a digital one. Crimes and methods of war are taking a similar form as well. There has been a rampant rise in cybercrimes and the concept of cyberwarfare has also evolved, with the demarcating lines between the two getting increasingly blurred over time.

The emergence of Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) and its use for both commission of crime and warfare creates a situation where the world experiences difficulty in differentiating between the two. The recent case of the alleged cyber-attack by North Korea on Sony has once again brought the indeterminacy regarding the rights, obligations and liabilities of cyberspace actors out into the limelight. Keeping these observations in mind, the problems associated with the anonymity of the perpetrators that plagues cyberspace shall be analyzed by keeping DDoS as a sample.

The article tries to explore the existing law to solve these riddles and to lay down the possible measures that a victim state could take. It would be argued that the domain of cyber laws is founded upon a system of analogies which is effective to a limited extent. Cyber laws are fraught with definitions of a traditional nature, and the emerging cyber activities do not fall squarely within these definitions in every case. The scattered attempts to codify cyber law and to lay down a conclusive rules are too few and lacking in acceptance. The conclusion is an acknowledgement of the need for a separate body of laws which are specifically designed for the cyberspace and more importantly, the acceptance of such laws.