• Home
  • YLS Today
  • News
  • Legal Scholars Sign Statement Advocating for Protections Against Cyber Operations Targeting Health Care Sector

Friday, May 22, 2020


Legal Scholars Sign Statement Advocating for Protections Against Cyber Operations Targeting Health Care Sector

Many have recently written about the application of international law in cyberspace and to the global COVID-19 pandemic, but relatively few have examined the intersection between these two areas. Yet recent weeks have witnessed a growing number of cyberattacks on organizations at the frontline of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including malicious cyber operations against the World Health Organizationmedical providersresearch institutespharmaceutical manufacturershospitals and hospital networks.

To address the urgency of the current moment, the participants at a two-day virtual workshop at the University of Oxford — co-sponsored by the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC) at the Blavatnik School of Government, Microsoft, and the Government of Japan—agreed upon the Oxford Statement on the International Law Protections against Cyber Operations Targeting the Health-Care Sector, setting forth core international law rules and principles relating to malicious cyber operations targeting healthcare facilities.

More than 80 prominent international law scholars have signed the Oxford Statement — including Yale Law faculty Harold Hongju Koh (one of the Statement’s drafters), Michael Reisman, Oona Hathaway, Visiting Professor Asli Bali and former Visiting Professor Dapo Akande (another of the Statement’s drafters); Mahnoush Arsanjani, and many Yale Law School alumni (including another of the Statement’s drafters James C. O’Brien).

The Oxford Statement has been posted widely and transmitted to nations participating in the May 22, 2020, U.N. Security Council meeting on responsible state behavior in cyberspace to promote discussion and spur clarification of the international law rules in this area.

The current list of signatories to the Oxford Statement may be found here. The Statement remains open for signature by public international lawyers, who may append their signature by writing to oxfordcyberstatement@gmail.com