Scenario 08: Certificate authority hack
The scenario analyses a cyber operation against a certificate authority that provides services to private and public entities, with indications that the operation was commissioned or exploited by a State. What are the relevant human rights obligations in cyberspace? What other international obligations may have been breached?
Sovereignty, prohibited intervention, mass surveillance in cyberspace, international human rights law
A company based in State A provides certificate authority services, including for government departments and agencies of State A. It has now been hacked by intruders, who assume control of the company’s certificate-issuing servers and, for several weeks, proceed to issue fraudulent certificates for private sector services, such as email or VoIP based telephony, but also for services related to the company register in State A. Indicators of compromise (IoCs) point to the use of proxies (an unaffiliated group) in incident 1, but eventually lead to State B’s intelligence service, which had ordered and paid the group to issue some of the fraudulent certificates in incident 2, including to the company register in State A (incident 1).
The fraudulent certificates are later used in a massive man-in-the-middle attack to intercept free email communication of several hundreds of thousands of individuals in State A (incident 2). Available evidence shows that this mass surveillance operation was fully conducted by State B’s intelligence service.
Eventually, all of the certificates issued by the company are blacklisted by the major internet browsers, the attack is contained, and the company files for bankruptcy.
State A and State B are States parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Similar real-world incidents
- DigiNotar (2011)
For a general overview of the structure of analysis in this section, see Note on the structure of articles.
The legal analysis first briefly deals with the attribution of incidents 1 and 2 to State B, then continues with the breach of State B’s obligations to respect the sovereignty of other States, prohibition of intervention, and the obligations arising from international human rights law.
In the present scenario, it is crucial that State B ordered and paid the group to issue some of the fraudulent certificates in incident 1. The fact of accepting this order confirms the existence of a factually subordinate relationship at the relevant time, and thus the conduct of the non-State group is attributable to State B under the “instruction” standard of Article 8 of ILC’s Articles on State Responsibility.
|State organs and persons and entities in exercise of governmental authority|
Such conduct is attributable to the State even if the organ, person or entity acting in that capacity "exceeds its authority or contravenes instructions" (acts ultra vires).
The intelligence service of State B is an organ of that State; therefore, its conduct is attributable to State B. In the present scenario, this covers the mass interception of emails in State A (incident 2).
Breach of an international obligation
The following options can be considered in the case at hand:
Obligation to respect the sovereignty of other States
|Sovereignty is a core principle of international law. According to a widely accepted definition of the term in the 1928 Island of Palmas arbitral award,|
[s]overeignty in the relations between States signifies independence. Independence in regard to a portion of the globe is the right to exercise therein, to the exclusion of any other State, the functions of a State.Multiple declarations by the UN, NATO, OSCE, the European Union, and individual States have confirmed that international law applies in cyberspace. Accordingly, so too does the principle of sovereignty. However, there is some debate as to whether this principle operates as a standalone rule of international law, the breach of which gives rise to state responsibility.
The remainder of this section proceeds on the basis of the former “sovereignty-as-rule” approach. Those espousing the latter “sovereignty-as-principle” approach should refer to other relevant sections of the legal analysis (such as that on the prohibition of intervention).
It is understood that sovereignty has both an internal and an external component. In the cyber context, the “internal” facet of sovereignty entails that “[a] State enjoys sovereign authority with regard to the cyber infrastructure, persons, and cyber activities located within its territory, subject to its international legal obligations.”
As a general rule, each State must respect the sovereignty of other States. It is clear that a cyber operation with severe destructive effects, comparable to a “non-cyber” armed attack or a use of force against a State, constitutes a violation of its sovereignty; however, with more subtle cyber operations, the question is far from settled.
The following modalities, highlighted in the Tallinn Manual 2.0, represent different ways of determining what a “sovereignty violation” might mean in the context of cyber operations:
The Tallinn Manual’s view of what constitutes a violation of sovereignty has been expressly endorsed by several States including Germany and the Netherlands. An alternative test has been proposed by France, which argues that a breach of sovereignty occurs already when there is “any unauthorised penetration by a State of [the victim State’s] systems”.
Attributing the relevant cyber operation to a State different from the target State is a necessary prerequisite for qualifying the cyber operation as a violation of the target State's sovereignty.
Whether non-State actors can violate territorial sovereignty on their own is a matter of disagreement.
Publicly available national positions that address this issue include: (2020), (2021), (2020), (2019), (2021), (2020), (2019), (2021), (2020), (2020), (2021), (2021), (2019), (2020), (2021), (2021), (2021), (2021), (2018), (2021), (2012), (2016), (2020).
There is no evidence that options 1 or 2 would be of relevance in this scenario.
With respect to option 3, the fact that the company’s certificates were blacklisted implies that the services using the certificates had to change to a different certificate authority. In the meantime, the trust in these services could not be guaranteed. Some websites using the blacklisted certificates would function, but browsers would issue security alerts, leading to economic losses for the respective businesses, as customers would be afraid to continue to their websites. Other services had lost functionality until they installed new certificates – especially online payment systems and mobile banking apps would stop working completely.
The precise threshold of the loss of functionality is difficult to determine. If the loss is only temporary, does not lead to significant disruptions, and can be easily fixed, then it would likely not qualify. However, assuming that the threshold was reached, State B is responsible to the extent that it had ordered the non-State actor to issue some of the fraudulent certificates (incident 1).
As for option 4, some of the affected systems were providing secure access to State A’s company register. Running this register is State A’s inherently governmental function, and if the function could not be provided due to the interference by State B (incident 1), then State B’s conduct had amounted to a violation of State A’s sovereignty.
Option 5, the usurpation of inherently governmental functions by State B, poses an interesting problem: was State B exercising its law enforcement functions in State A’s territory by the interception of emails of several hundred thousands of people in State A’s territory (incident 2)? Interestingly, the answer seems to lie in the goal of State B: if its intelligence service was collecting evidence for criminal proceedings abroad without the consent of State A, then it was exercising law enforcement functions and hence violating State A’s sovereignty; if it was merely engaging in cyber espionage for national security purposes, then according to this option, it was not usurping inherently governmental functions of State A.
On the basis of the foregoing, it can be summarized that in the context of incident 1, State B violated the sovereignty of State A insofar the actions of the non-state actor can be attributed to State B. As for incident 2, the answer depends on the actual goal of State B’s conduct.
|Prohibition of intervention|
|Prohibited intervention was authoritatively defined by the International Court of Justice in the judgment on the merits in the 1986 case Nicaragua v United States:|
A prohibited intervention must … be one bearing on matters in which each State is permitted, by the principle of State sovereignty, to decide freely. One of these is the choice of a political, economic, social and cultural system, and the formulation of foreign policy. Intervention is wrongful when it uses methods of coercion in regard to such choices, which must remain free ones.In order for an act, including a cyber operation, to qualify as a prohibited intervention, it must fulfil the following conditions:
Publicly available national positions that address this issue include: (2020), (2021), (2021), (2019), (2021), (2020), (2020), (2021), (2019), (2020), (2021), (2021), (2021), (2021), (2018), (2021), (2016), (2020).
In incident 1, State B interfered with the internal affairs of State A by having a non-State actor issue fraudulent certificates, thereby undermining the security of online government services. However, proving the coercive nature of the act can be difficult. It depends on the ultimate goal of State B, and whether the act can be causally linked to the goal. If State B merely wanted to cause nuisance and economic loss to State A without any particular goal, the act does not qualify as prohibited intervention (even though it does qualify as a violation of sovereignty: see above).
In incident 2, the analysis again depends on the goal of State B. If State B wanted to engage in cyber espionage against the Internet users in State A’s territory, or even if it wanted to conduct law enforcement activities in State A’s territory, without any intent to influence State A’s decisions on its internal or external affairs, the prohibition of intervention would not have been breached.
Violation of obligations arising from international human rights law by State B
|International human rights law|
| States are therefore bound by their human rights obligations to both respect and ensure human rights in cyberspace. States also bear international responsibility for the violation of human rights obligations that are attributable to them.
The source of these obligations is primarily treaty law. The two key global treaties are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); many of these treaties’ provisions, along with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are regarded as reflective of customary international human rights law, even though there is no universally accepted codification. Apart from the ICCPR and ICESCR, there exist important regional human rights treaty systems, especially for Europe (European Convention on Human Rights – ECHR), the European Union (Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union – EUCFR), and America (American Convention on Human Rights – ACHR), which provide for adjudicatory mechanisms by which individuals can assert their human rights against States and which have generated a considerable amount of case-law as a result.
In order to determine whether a State has breached its human rights obligations, the following steps of analysis should be conducted:
Apart from the responsibility for human rights violations attributed to it, a State can also be held responsible for its failure to take all reasonable measures to protect the human rights of individuals in its territory and subject to its jurisdiction (for instance, if it unlawfully allows non-State actors to violate human rights).
(1) Does the obligation of State B to respect the right to privacy pursuant to Article 17 ICCPR apply to its cyber operations against individuals in State A? The owners and presumably also the content of the intercepted email accounts were located in State A. State B, whose State organ commissioned the preparation of the interception and then executed it itself, would be obligated to respect the human rights of those persons if they were under its jurisdiction or control.
According to one line of thought, if an organ of State B can, in the exercise of its jurisdiction, secretly interfere with the human rights of individuals anywhere in the world without the knowledge of the territorial State (in this case, State A), then it is logically State B which must make sure that this interference is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the ICCPR.
The counterargument is that there is a lack of consensus whether interfering with cyber infrastructure abroad can amount to exerting effective control. In the present state of the law, State B therefore cannot be held responsible for violating human rights of the individuals concerned.
(2) Assuming that the ICCPR applies, a surreptitious interception of emails between individuals is an interference with their right to privacy pursuant to Article 17 ICCPR (specifically, interference with their correspondence). Depending on the goal of State B, the interception might also implicate Article 19 ICCPR (right to freedom of expression).
(3) The scenario does not contain any information about State B’s domestic law. If there is a domestic law regulating extraterritorial surveillance or criminal investigation, which is compliant with the requirements of the international obligation (legality, legitimacy of the objective, necessity to achieve the goal, and proportionality), and the email interception is done in accordance with that law, then State B’s activity would be in accordance with the ICCPR.
With regard to the number of affected individuals (“several hundreds of thousands”), it should be noted that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled any bulk online surveillance as incompatible with the EUCFR; however, as of October 2018, the case-law of the ECtHR seems to be developing in a less strict direction. Although these rulings do not directly apply to States not members of the relevant international organizations, they may nonetheless carry persuasive value for the further development of the law in this area.
On the basis of the foregoing, it therefore cannot be concluded that the interception of emails by itself amounts to a violation of international human rights law. Although such conduct would most certainly interfere with several human rights of the affected individuals, its compatibility with IHRL would fall to be determined by the justification proffered by the acting State.
- Attribution: Did State B provide instructions or exercise direction or control over the non-State actor?
- Attribution: Is an intelligence agency a State organ of State B?
- Sovereignty: Did State B’s operation cause a loss of functionality of another State’s cyber infrastructure?
- Sovereignty: Did State B usurp State A’s inherently governmental functions by its cyber operation in State A’s territory?
- Prohibited intervention: Did State B try to coerce State A by its cyber operation?
- International human rights law: Does the ICCPR apply to State B’s cyber operation abroad?
- International human rights law: Which human rights are implicated by State B’s cyber operation?
- International human rights law: Is State B’s cyber operation justified from the perspective of international human rights law?
Notes and references
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (adopted 16 December 1966, entered into force 23 March 1976) 999 UNTS 171 (ICCPR).
- ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art 8; see also Kubo Mačák, ‘Decoding Article 8 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility: Attribution of Cyber Operations by Non-State Actors’ (2016) 21 JC&SL 405.
- ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art 9.
- ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art 10(1).
- ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art 10(2).
- ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art 11.
- See K Mačák, ‘Decoding Article 8 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility: Attribution of Cyber Operations by Non-State Actors’ (2016) 21 JCSL 405, 415 (“the non-State entity must be factually subordinate to the State at the moment when the State decides to commit the acts in question”).
- ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art 4(1).
- ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art 6.
- ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art 5.
- ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art 7; Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 15, paras. 6-7 and 12.
- Island of Palmas (Neth. v. U.S.), 2 RIAA 829, 838 (Perm. Ct. Arb. 1928).
- UNGA Res 71/237 (30 December 2015) UN Doc A/RES/20/237.
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 'Wales Summit Declaration' (issued by the Head of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales (5 September 2015) para 72.
- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Decision No. 1202, OSCE Confidence-Building Measures to Reduce the Risks of Conflict Stemming from the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (Permanent Council, 10 March 2016) PC.DEC/1202.
- Council of the European Union,"Council Conclusions on the Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council: Resilience, Deterrence and Defence: Building strong cybersecurity for the EU" (Council conclusions, 20 November 2017).
- Michael N Schmitt, 'Virtual Disenfranchisement: Cyber Election Meddling in the Grey Zones of International Law' (2018) 19 ChiJIntlL 30,40; Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 2 (‘States shoulder an obligation to respect the sovereignty of other States as a matter of international law’).
- Austria, Pre-Draft Report of the OEWG - ICT: Comments by Austria (31 March 2020), stating that ‘a violation of the principle of State sovereignty constitutes an internationally wrongful act – if attributable to a State – for which a target State may seek reparation under the law of State responsibility’.
- Czech Republic, Statement by Mr. Richard Kadlčák, Special Envoy for Cyberspace, 2nd substantive session of the Open-ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (11 February 2020), stating that ‘[t]he Czech Republic concurs with those considering the principle of sovereignty as an independent right and the respect to sovereignty as an independent obligation.’
- Finland, ‘International law and cyberspace: Finland’s national positions’ (15 October 2020), 3, stating that ‘Finland sees sovereignty as a primary rule of international law, a breach of which amounts to an internationally wrongful act and triggers State responsibility. This rule is fully applicable in cyberspace.’
- French Ministry of the Armies, ‘International Law Applied to Operations in Cyberspace’, 9 September 2019, stating that ‘Any unauthorised penetration by a State of French systems or any production of effects on French territory via a digital vector may constitute, at the least, a breach of sovereignty’.
- Germany, ‘On the Application of International Law in Cyberspace: Position Paper’ (March 2021), p. 3, noting that ‘Germany agrees with the view that cyber operations attributable to States which violate the sovereignty of another State are contrary to international law’.
- Iran, ‘Declaration of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran Regarding International Law Applicable to the Cyberspace’ (July 2020), para 4 (‘Any utilization of cyberspace if and when involves unlawful intrusion to the (public or private) cyber structures which is under the control of another state, maybe constituted as the violation of the sovereignty of the targeted state.’).
- Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Letter to the parliament on the international legal order in cyberspace’ (5 July 2019), stating that ‘countries may not conduct cyber operations that violate the sovereignty of another country’.
- Gary P. Corn and Robert Taylor, ‘Sovereignty in the Age of Cyber’ (2017) 111 AJIL Unbound 207, 208 (arguing that sovereignty is ‘a principle of international law that guides state interactions’).
- Jeremy Wright, ‘Cyber and International Law in the 21st Century’ (23 May 2018) (stating that he was ‘not persuaded that we can currently extrapolate from that general principle a specific rule or additional prohibition for cyber activity beyond that of a prohibited intervention. The UK Government’s position is therefore that there is no such rule as a matter of current international law’); see also Memorandum from JM O’Connor, General Counsel of the Department of Defense, ‘International Law Framework for Employing Cyber Capabilities in Military Operations’ (19 January 2017) (considering that sovereignty is not ‘a binding legal norm, proscribing cyber actions by one State that result in effects occurring on the infrastructure located in another State, or that are manifest in another State’), as cited by Sean Watts & Theodore Richard, 'Baseline Territorial Sovereignty and Cyberspace' (2018) 22 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 771, 829.
- Paul C. Ney, DOD General Counsel Remarks at U.S. Cyber Command Legal Conference, 2 March 2020, arguing that ‘the Department believes there is not sufficiently widespread and consistent State practice resulting from a sense of legal obligation to conclude that customary international law generally prohibits such non-consensual cyber operations in another State’s territory’.
- Cf. James Crawford, Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law (OUP 2012) 448.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, rule 2.
- Sovereignty over cyber infrastructure derives from the traditional concept of sovereignty, independent of the use of cyberspace. See Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, 'Territorial Sovereignty and Neutrality in Cyberspace' (2013) 89 Int’l L. Stud. 123 (noting that '[t]erritorial sovereignty [..] implies that, subject to applicable customary or conventional rules of international law, the State alone is entitled to exercise jurisdiction, especially by subjecting objects and persons within its territory to domestic legislation and to enforce these rules.')
- UN GA Res 2625 (XXV) (24 October 1970) (Friendly Relations Declaration), preamble (emphasizing “that the purposes of the United Nations can be implemented only if States enjoy sovereign equality and comply fully with the requirements of this principle in their international relations”); Tallinn Manual 2.0, rule 4.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 5 and 12.
- See, eg, Certain Activities Carried Out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v Nicaragua) and Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v Costa Rica) (Judgment)  ICJ Rep 665, 704–05, paras 97–99 (holding that the presence of Nicaragua’s military personnel in the territory under Costa Rica’s sovereignty amounted to a violation of Costa Rica’s territorial sovereignty); see also Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 6.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 7; commentary to rule 32, para 9.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 11.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 12.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 13.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 14.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 15.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 16.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 18.
- Germany, ‘On the Application of International Law in Cyberspace: Position Paper’ (March 2021), p. 4.
- Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Letter to the parliament on the international legal order in cyberspace’ (5 July 2019), p. 3.
- French Ministry of the Armies, International Law Applied to Operations in Cyberspace, p. 6.
- In favour: see, eg, Theodore Christakis, ‘The ICJ Advisory Opinion on Kosovo: Has International Law Something to Say about Secession?’ (2011) 24 LJIL 73, 84; Marcelo Kohen, ‘The Court’s Contribution to Determining the Content of Fundamental Principles of International Law’ in Giorgio Gaja and Jenny Grote Stoutenburg (eds), Enhancing the Rule of Law through the International Court of Justice (Brill 2012) 145. Against: see, eg, Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para 3.
- Compare Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para. 14, wherein some of the experts were willing to characterise as a violation of sovereignty “causing a temporary, but significant, loss of functionality, as in the case of a major DDoS operation”.
- Compare Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 4, para. 18: “if one State conducts a law enforcement operation against a botnet in order to obtain evidence for criminal prosecution by taking over its command and control servers located in another State without that State’s consent, the former has violated the latter’s sovereignty because the operation usurps an inherently governmental function exclusively reserved to the territorial State under international law.”
- Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v US) (Merits)  ICJ Rep 14, para 205.
- Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, ‘Letter to the President of the House of Representatives on the International Legal Order in Cyberspace – Appendix: International Law in Cyberspace’ (5 July 2019), 3; Finland, ‘International law and cyberspace: Finland’s national positions’ (15 October 2020), 3; Germany, ‘On the Application of International Law in Cyberspace: Position Paper’ (March 2021), 5.
- Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, ‘Letter to the President of the House of Representatives on the International Legal Order in Cyberspace – Appendix: International Law in Cyberspace’ (5 July 2019), 3.
- See, for example, Katja Ziegler, “Domaine Réservé”, in Rudiger Wolfrum (ed), Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (OUP 2008) (updated April 2013) (defining the domaine réservé as those “areas where States are free from international obligations and regulation”).
- See also Harriet Moynihan, ‘The Vital Role of International Law in the Framework for Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace’ (2020) 5 Journal of Cyber Policy __, ___ [10–12 in pre-print].
- See, eg, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, ‘Letter to the President of the House of Representatives on the International Legal Order in Cyberspace – Appendix: International Law in Cyberspace’ (5 July 2019) 3, defining coercion as ‘compelling a state to take a course of action (whether an act or an omission) that it would not otherwise voluntarily pursue’ and noting that ‘[t]he goal of the intervention must be to effect change in the behaviour of the target state’; Germany, ‘On the Application of International Law in Cyberspace: Position Paper’ (March 2021), 5, defining coercion as a situation in which a State’s ‘will is manifestly bent by the foreign State’s conduct’ and noting that ‘the acting State must intend to intervene in the internal affairs of the target State’; see also Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 66, para 19 (‘The majority of Experts was of the view that the coercive effort must be designed to influence outcomes in, or conduct with respect to, a matter reserved to a target State.’).
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 66, para 21. See also Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, ‘Letter to the President of the House of Representatives on the International Legal Order in Cyberspace – Appendix: International Law in Cyberspace’ (5 July 2019), 3.
- See, eg, Australia, ‘Supplement to Australia’s Position on the Application of International Law to State Conduct in Cyberspace’ (2019) 4 (‘A prohibited intervention is one that interferes by coercive means (in the sense that they effectively deprive another state of the ability to control, decide upon or govern matters of an inherently sovereign nature), either directly or indirectly, in matters that a state is permitted by the principle of state sovereignty to decide freely.’); New Zealand, ‘The Application of International Law to State Activity in Cyberspace’ (1 December 2020), para 9(b) (stating that a State cyber activity is coercive if ‘there is an intention to deprive the target state of control over matters falling within the scope of its inherently sovereign functions’); see also Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 66, para 19 (‘A few Experts took the position that to be coercive it is enough that an act has the effect of depriving the State of control over the matter in question.’).
- Harriet Moynihan, ‘The Vital Role of International Law in the Framework for Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace’ (2020) 5 Journal of Cyber Policy __, ___ [11 in pre-print].
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 66, para 21.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 66, paras 19 and 27.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 66, para 24 (the exact nature of the causal nexus was not agreed on).
- See, for example, United Nations Human Rights Council, The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet, Resolution A/HRC/RES/32/13 (1 July 2016), para 1; NATO, Warsaw Summit Communiqué (9 July 2016), para 70; G8 Summit of Deauville, Declaration: Renewed Commitment for Freedom and Democracy (27 May 2011), para II/11.
- See, Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro) (Judgment)  ICJ Rep 43, para 170.
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (adopted 16 December 1966, entered into force 23 March 1976) 999 UNTS 171 (ICCPR); International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (adopted 16 December 1966, entered into force 3 January 1976) 993 UNTS 3 (ICESCR).
- Formal title: Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (opened to the signature in Rome on 4 November 1950, entered into force 3 September 1953), ETS 5 (ECHR); there are several protocols which significantly expand and amend the obligations of the original Convention.
- Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, proclaimed on 7 December 2000 (EUCFR).
- American Convention on Human Rights (open for signature from 22 November 1969, entered into force 18 July 1978), 1144 UNTS 123 (ACHR).
- Article 2(1) ICCPR.
- UN HRC, ‘General Comment No. 31 (80): The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant’ (adopted on 29 March 2004, 2187th meeting), para 10.
- Cf, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Advisory Opinion)  ICJ Rep 136, para 111.
- See, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Advisory Opinion)  ICJ 136, para 110; UN HRC, Summary Record of the 1405th Meeting, CCPR/C/SR.1405 (31 March 1995) 6 .
- See, for example, Marko Milanovic, ‘Human Rights Treaties and Foreign Surveillance: Privacy in the Digital Age’ (2015) 56 Harvard International Law Journal 81.
- Article 17 ICCPR; Article 8 ECHR; Article 7 EUCFR; Article 11 ACHR. The exact titles and scopes of the provisions vary.
- Article 19 ICCPR; Article 10 ECHR; Article 11 EUCFR; Article 13 ACHR. The exact titles and scopes of the provisions vary.
- UN Human Rights Committee, ICCPR General Comment No. 34 (12 September 2011), paras 21-36; See also ICCPR General Comment No. 27 (1 November 1999), paras 14-16.
- See, Velásquez Rodríguez v. Honduras, (Merits) IACrtHR (Ser. C) No. 4 (29 July 1988) .
- M Milanovic, ‘Human Rights Treaties and Foreign Surveillance: Privacy in the Digital Age’ (2015) Harv.Int‘l.L.J. 56/1, pages 118-119.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 36, para. 6.
- CJEU, the judgments in Digital Rights Ireland and Tele2 Sverige.
- ECtHR, the Chamber judgments in Centrum för Rättvisa and Big Brother Watch.
Bibliography and further reading
- MN Schmitt (ed), Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations (CUP 2017)
Original text by: Tomáš Minárik
Reviewed by: Kubo Mačák