On 27-28 September 2019, a group of international law scholars met in Helsinki on the occasion of a workshop co-organised by the EU Cyber Direct Project, the Erik Castrén Institute and the Cyber Policy Institute to examine the intersection of international law and cybersecurity. The dialogue, moderated by Duncan Hollis and Eneken Tikk, aimed to identify individual and shared research interests, to explore the current cybersecurity-related trends and issues in international law, and to determine where and how international law intervenes in the dialogue of international cybersecurity.

Day 1 was devoted to the analysis of state behaviour in cyberspace, of the legal-institutional architecture of cybersecurity and the current and potential issues that are likely to acquire international solutions. Ambassador and Senior Expert on Public International Law Marja Lehto set the scene for the discussion and gave an account of the on-going international cybersecurity dialogue and the questions addressed in the UN First Committee.

The discussion then focused on the functions and limits of international law, as well as on the potential contributions of private international law, due diligence and other concepts from different disciplines. Going beyond a security frame, the group also discussed the potential social and economic benefits of ICTs, as well as peaceful state behaviour in cyberspace.

Finnish Ambassador Taalas concluded the first day with a dinner talk in which he discussed the link between international law, the current broader geopolitical context and the aspirations of individual states in the operationalization of legal concepts.

On Day 2, the Group looked at relevant lessons learned from law and economics, from the law of international organizations and from international arms control law. Insights from the juridical practice were also presented and concepts such as the use of force and state sovereignty were discussed as case studies for delineating rules from their interpretations.

In the final panel, the participants discussed possible paths to promote, mobilize and inform the use of international law to address issues of international cybersecurity.