The new phenomenon of cyber law
Date of this Version
If space law is the little sister of air law (or aviation law), then cyber law is probably best seen as a distant cousin - a cousin that air and space law have yet to properly get to know. In light of this, it was no doubt a bold step that the organizers of the international symposium, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Institute of Air and Space Law, included a section on cyber law. To paraphrase a well known quote, it was perhaps one small step for the men and women involved, but one giant leap for the legal disciplines concerned. There are at least two reasons why the meeting between air and space law on the one hand, and cyber law on the other, is necessary. First, many of the challenges these disciplines face are shared between them. Consequently, each discipline may usefully learn from the trials and tribulations of the others. Secondly, there is an increasingly obvious convergence occurring between these disciplines. While there is a rich well of examples of this convergence to draw upon, one example has to suffice here. Recently there were speculations that an individual had been able to hack into the control system of a commercial airliner; ostensibly utilizing the satellite communication system. 1 While it has since transpired that the alleged hacking incident is unlikely to have occurred,2 it is nevertheless an interesting example of how cyber law, air law and space law are interwoven in a manner making it difficult to know where one discipline starts and another ends. Indeed, this example illustrates that there may be little utility in perpetually trying to isolate and compartmentalize the three fields.
This document has been peer reviewed.