Just Information Warfare

  • Mariarosaria TaddeoEmail author
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 124)


In this chapter I propose an ethical analysis of information warfare, the warfare waged in the cyber domain. The goal is twofold, filling the theoretical vacuum surrounding this phenomenon and providing the conceptual grounding for the definition of new ethical regulations for information warfare. I argue that Just War Theory is a necessary but not sufficient instrument for considering the ethical implications of information warfare and that a suitable ethical analysis of this kind of warfare is developed when Just War Theory is merged with Information Ethics. In the initial part of the chapter, I describe information warfare and its main features and highlight the problems that arise when Just War Theory is endorsed as a means of addressing ethical problems engendered by this kind of warfare. In the final part, I introduce the main aspects of Information Ethics and define three principles for a just information warfare resulting from the integration of Just War Theory and Information Ethics.


Cyber Conflicts Entropy Information Ethics Information War Just War Theory War 


  1. Abiola, A., J. Munoz, and W. Buchanan. 2004. Analysis and detection of cruising computer viruses. In In: Proceedings of 3rd EIWC.Google Scholar
  2. Arquilla, J. 1998. Can information warfare ever be just? Ethics and Information Technology 1(3): 203–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arquilla, J. 2013. Twenty years of cyberwar. Journal of Military Ethics 12(1): 80–87. doi: 10.1080/15027570.2013.782632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arquilla, J., and D.F. Ronfeldt (eds.). 1997. In Athena’s camp: Preparing for conflict in the information age. Santa Monica: Rand.Google Scholar
  5. Asaro, P. 2008. How just could a robot war be? In Current issues in computing and philosophy, ed. P. Brey, A. Briggle, and K. Waelbers, 50–64. Amsterdam: IOS Press.Google Scholar
  6. Barrett, E.T. 2013. Warfare in a new domain: The ethics of military cyber-operations. Journal of Military Ethics 12(1): 4–17. doi: 10.1080/15027570.2013.782633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benbow, T. 2004. The magic bullet?: Understanding the “Revolution in Military Affairs”. London: Brassey’s.Google Scholar
  8. Blackmore, T. 2011. War X. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bok, S. 1999. Lying: Moral choice in public and private life. 2nd Vintage Books ed. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  10. Bowden, M. 2011. Worm: The first digital world war. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.Google Scholar
  11. Brenner, J. 2011. America the vulnerable: New technology and the next threat to national security. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  12. Clarke, R.A. 2012. Cyber war: The next threat to national security and what to do about it. 1st Ecco pbk. edn. New York: Ecco.Google Scholar
  13. Denning, D. 2007. The ethics of cyber conflict. In Information and computer ethics. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Dipert, R. 2010. The ethics of cyberwarfare. Journal of Military Ethics 9(4): 384–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dipert, R. 2013. The essential features of an ontology for cyberwarfare. In Conflict and cooperation in cyberspace, ed. Panayotis Yannakogeorgos and Adam Lowther, 35–48. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.
  16. Floridi, L. 2002. On the intrinsic value of information objects and the infosphere. Ethics and Information Technology 4(4): 287–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Floridi, L. 2006. Information ethics, its nature and scope. SIGCAS Comput. Soc. 36(3): 21–36. doi: 10.1145/1195716.1195719.
  18. Floridi, L. 2007. Understanding information ethics. APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 7(1): 3–12.Google Scholar
  19. Floridi, L. 2008. The method of levels of abstraction. Minds and Machines 18(3):303–329. doi: 10.1007/s11023-008-9113-7.
  20. Floridi, L. 2013. Ethics of information. [S.l.]: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Floridi, L. 2014. The fourth revolution, how the infosphere is reshaping human reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Floridi, L., and J. Sanders. 2001. Artificial evil and the foundation of computer ethics. Ethics and Information Technology 3(1): 55–66.Google Scholar
  23. Floridi, L., and J.W. Sanders. 2004. On the morality of artificial agents. Minds and Machines 14(3): 349–379. doi: 10.1023/B:MIND.0000035461.63578.9d.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gelven, M. 1994. War and existence: A philosophical inquiry. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hepburn, R.W. 1984. “Wonder” and other essays: Eight studies in aesthetics and neighbouring fields. Edinburgh: University Press.Google Scholar
  26. “ICRC Databases on International Humanitarian Law.” 00:00:00.0.
  27. Libicki, M. 1996. What is information warfare? Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Perry, D. 2006. ‘Repugnant Philosophy’: Ethics, espionage, and covert action. In Ethics of spying: A reader for the intelligence professional, ed. J Goldman. Lanham: Scarecrow Press.Google Scholar
  29. Schmitt, M.N. 1999. The principle of discrimination in 21st century warfare. SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 1600631. Rochester: Social Science Research Network.
  30. Schwartau, W. 1994. Information warfare: Chaos on the electronic superhighway. 1st ed. New York/Emeryville: Thunder’s Mouth Press /Distributed by Publishers Group West.Google Scholar
  31. Shulman, M. R. 1999. Discrimination in the laws of information warfare. SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 1287181. Rochester: Social Science Research Network.
  32. Taddeo, M., and A. Vaccaro. 2011. Analyzing peer-to-peer technology using information ethics. The Information Society 27(2): 105–112. doi: 10.1080/01972243.2011.548698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Toffler, A., and A. Toffler. 1997. Foreword: The new intangibles. In In Athena’s camp preparing for conflict in the information age, ed. Arquilla John and David F. Ronfeld. Santa Monica: Rand.Google Scholar
  34. Turilli, M., A. Vaccaro, and M. Taddeo. 2011. Internet neutrality: Ethical issues in the internet environment. Philosophy & Technology 25(2): 133–151. doi: 10.1007/s13347-011-0039-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Waltz, E. 1998. Information warfare: Principles and operations. Boston: Artech House.Google Scholar
  36. Walzer, M. 2006. Just and unjust wars: A moral argument with historical illustrations, 4th ed. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  37. Withman, J. 2013. Is just war theory obsolete?”. In Routledge handbook of ethics and war: Just war theory in the 21st century, ed. Allhoff Fritz, Nicholas G. Evans, and Henschke Adam, 23–34. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Internet InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations