In the face of the silent, deadly approach of COVID-19, the world has appeared powerless. But, more than 120 international lawyers have signed the Oxford Statement on the International Law Protections Against Cyber Operations Targeting the Health Care Sector, to say we are not incapable in respect of that man-made but deadly threat of the stealthy, healthcare cyber-attacks - which has been thrown into sharp focus by the pandemic.
Initiated by Professor Dapo Akande, Professor of International Public Law and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, the Statement has been signed by experts from around the globe, including China, Germany, France, Argentina, India and the US. According to Professor Akande, ‘We have come up with a set of principles, something that states can point to as a framework for battling cyber-attacks.’
The Statement has already been referred to in the UN Security Council, as a good articulation of relevant international law principles and, currently, two groups within the UN are working on tackling this issue.
On Tuesday 26 May, the Guardian and New York Times published full page ads containing a call for Governments to take action to halt cyber attacks on the health care sector.