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The Right to Bear Cyber-Arms

by Greg on July 13, 2010

By Kevin Coleman
Defense Tech Cyber-War Correspondent

Defending the United States against acts of cyber aggression is now a major concern shared across the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Cyber Command, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Executive Branch of Government. The 2010 QDR discussed the need for improved capabilities to counter threats in cyber space. The Military’s New Cyber Command has stated the scope of their protection as did the Department of Homeland Security.

DoD’s focus Protecting military Systems
DHS focus Protecting critical infrastructure

However, non-critical infrastructure businesses seem to have fallen through the cracks. In a recent briefing I was asked if the 2nd Amendment gave private citizens and private companies the right to bear cyber-arms and if they are attacked, do they have the right to return cyber-fire in self-defense. These are two really interesting questions. The answers are unclear.

It appears one could make the claim since private sector businesses are not specifically addressed by DoD or DHS, cyber self-defense is reasonable, but this is a slippery slope fraught with international issues. You can be sure that these questions will eventually make it all the way up to the Supreme Court for a final decision.

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