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Mr. Roberto Cassar

on Cybersecurity

Outer space is a key enabler of life on planet Earth, particularly in its digital form. As digital life evolves, cyberspace – the virtual dimension in which this type of life unfolds – becomes more populous. An increase of human presence and activity in cyberspace means, among other things, that social phenomena inevitably occur there too. One such type of social phenomenon is crime.

In cyberspace, much like in the physical world, crime can be committed in different ways. Also like in the physical world, the victims of cybercrime can be two: either persons, whether natural or legal, or States. A major difference between a person and a State as a victim is that, in the case of a State, if the cybercrime amounts to the use of force or to an armed attack in breach of the Charter of the United Nations, its consequence could be war. 

Cybersecurity, therefore, is a growing concern. Since outer space is an enabler of the digital aspect of human life, outer space is necessarily an enabler of cyberspace. This means that, even if only indirectly, outer space is linked to cybersecurity. Once outer space is linked to cybersecurity, space law is inevitably linked to it as well. Space law – the law that stipulates what can and cannot be done in and through outer space – should thus seek to address those aspects of cybercrime that occur through outer space or through the infrastructure that is enabled by outer space. 

Considering that space law relates to both space and telecommunications activities, space law should be consequently able to address various aspects of cybercrime, ranging from relevant space activities to specific radio frequencies and signals. Although space and telecommunications activities are subject to international law, in view of the novelty of cybercrime it could be sensible to amend the existing law, or to promulgate new legal instruments altogether. What should be sought in this context is harmony between the law and the technology; the law should seek to catch up and keep up with the technology in question.


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