Lieber Studies Volume 9

Big Data and Armed Conflict

Edited By: Laura A. Dickinson & Edward W. Berg

Edited Volume, 288 Pages
ISBN: 9780197668610
Published October 20, 2023

Published by Oxford University Press


Disclaimer: Books in the Lieber Studies Series are not official publications of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense. The views expressed in these volumes represent the authors’ personal views and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense, the United States Army, the United States Military Academy, or any other department or agency of the United States Government. The analysis presented stems from academic research of publicly available sources, not from protected operational information. 



This book provides a pathbreaking attempt both to define the important legal questions related to the growing use of “big data” in extraterritorial military operations, and to begin to provide some answers. Big data, meaning the troves of data generated by new information technologies and the advanced analytics used to process that data, is radically reshaping the modern battlefield. Like many new military technologies and capabilities, the myriad uses of big data present broad questions about how to translate existing rules and principles embedded in multiple bodies of law to these new contexts, both within armed conflict, as part of adversarial activities below the armed conflict threshold, and in a range of related operations that increasingly use, deploy, and target such data. These questions extend beyond the role of big data within weapons systems and other military capabilities to questions about the nature of civilian harm, scope of individual rights, atrocity investigation, and humanitarian relief.

The chapters in this book comprise the first initiative to grapple with a wide swath of these questions including whether, and how, jus ad bellum, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international criminal law might apply to operations involving big data. At the same time, because big data is so transformative, the uses of such data provoke deeper questions about the law itself, exposing gaps and interpretive ambiguities in existing legal frameworks that generate critiques of those frameworks as inadequate. Accordingly, while big data holds enormous promise, it also has the potential to disrupt modern warfare and the rule of law itself. This book confronts these issues directly, offers a range of approaches, and suggests an initial roadmap for scholars and practitioners alike.

Table of Contents
Shane R. Reeves

Laura A. Dickinson

Mark A. Visger

PART ONE: Operations Below the Armed Conflict Threshold and the Jus ad Bellum

Chapter 1: Big Data: International Law Issues Below the Armed Conflict Threshold
Michael N. Schmitt

Chapter 2: Threatening Force in Cyberspace
Duncan B. Hollis & Tsvetelina van Benthem

Chapter 3: “Attacking” Big Data: Strategic Competition, the Race for AI, and the International Law of Cyber Sabotage
Gary P. Corn & Eric Talbot Jensen

Chapter 4: Attacking Big Data as a Use of Force
Ido Kilovaty

PART TWO: Military Operations and International Humanitarian Law

Chapter 5: Big Data: International Law Issues During Armed Conflict
Michael N. Schmitt

Chapter 6: Garbage In, Garbage Out: Data Poisoning Attacks and Their Legal Implications
Mark A. Visger

Chapter 7: Data Centers and International Humanitarian Law
François Delerue

Chapter 8: The Duty of Constant Care and Data Protection in War
Asaf Lubin

Chapter 9: Cyborg Soldiers: International Law and Military Brain-Computer Interfaces
Noam Lubell & Katya Al-Khateeb

PART THREE: Humanitarian Operations and Atrocity Investigation

Chapter 10: Corporate Data Responsibility
Galit A. Sarfaty

Chapter 11: Leveraging Big Data for LOAC
Beth Van Schaack

PART FOUR: International Human Rights Law

Chapter 12: The Datafication of Counter-Terrorism
Fionnuala Ni Aolain


Volume 9 Masthead

General Editor
Professor Laura A. Dickinson
Lieutenant Colonel Edward W. Berg