8.1 Cameron

| September 2, 2020

Phil Cameron. (2020). The Language of Cyberattacks. International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse 8(1), 79-94.

Abstract: This essay is a post-structuralist analysis of legal systems and terminology used in government-based high technology activities. In the pandemic contact tracing post 9-11 era of high technology global security, there is no single determinate structure for the application of basic international law principles. The legal terms in practice do not point at things, persons, structures, nor even at other words with reliable predictability. The novelty of the technologies used results in referent persons, locales, situations and governing laws being subject to the broadest interpretive license. Meanwhile, the originating spirit found in international legal rules protecting civilians, such as the Geneva Conventions, has been applied to electronic attacks during times of armed conflict. This essay discusses the semantic importance of “threat, crime, attack, security” language and the referent persons conducting the activities. A linguistic deconstruction of the techniques of intelligence gathering is discussed, such as packet sniffing, FBI cybercrimes investigations, data collection, remote sensing, storage and retrieval of records. This includes an analysis of the places involved in cyberattacks and digital trespass which redefine the meaning of borders through electronic security-surveillance during border entry such as airports. These surveillance, security and cybercrime concepts are grounded in a history and culture whose new laws are based on state-of-the-art applications and re-interpretations of traditionally accepted legal principles. Post-structuralism as applied to cyberlaw argues that to understand these legal referents, it is necessary to understand both the object itself and the historical technological lineage that produced the cybersecurity laws.

Keywords: post-structuralist linguistics, surveillance, security, cybercrimes, international humanitarian law, international law, technology, computers, civilians during armed conflict, cyberattacks, cyberwarfare, state borders


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Category: Volume 8