The Right to Keep and Bear Cyber Arms: The 2nd Amendment and CyberWar

There have been several articles floating around about “Cyber Militias”, and though I will probably regret it, I think it is time to talk about cyber weapons and the second amendment.

I’ve seen some interesting video lately, where two armed thugs enter a business and threaten everyone inside. An armed civilian defends himself and everyone inside by drawing his weapon and chasing the perps out of the business with some well aimed shots. But what if your business, that you worked very hard to build with blood, sweat and toil, is targeted by cyber criminals, what can you do?

Well, right now, all you can legally do is contact the authorities. Even if you knew how, you can not take matters into your own hands and counter-hack the attackers. With all the media hype over Stuxnet, cyber war and cyber weapons – should US citizens be legally allowed to own and use these deadly weapons in accordance with their 2nd Amendment rights?

Okay, I am poking fun with the “deadly” thing, as so far no one has been officially killed by a “cyber weapon”. But Joel Harding has some very interesting points in his latest post on cyber militias. If Switzerland stays true to course, and hands out government made cyber code to home guard soldiers, shouldn’t American civilians have access to such weapons also?

Honestly, as the amendment is written and as code is being quantified as a weapon, why shouldn’t Americans be allowed to actively defend themselves against online electronic risks as well as physical threats?

Of course, I can foresee that a single user Denial-of-Service weapon would probably be given out without much ado, but there will probably be a ban on large capacity distributed DoS weapons. And of course their will be a 10 day waiting period on Stuxnet based threats.

Wouldn’t want someone blowing up a couple nuclear power processing plants in Iran just because they had a bad day at the office…

Alright, alright… All kidding aside, should the 2nd amendment apply to cyber weapons – what do you think?

4 thoughts on “The Right to Keep and Bear Cyber Arms: The 2nd Amendment and CyberWar”

  1. Hi,

    Bah you Americans, always intermixing Sweden with Switzerland =)

    Otherwise interesting read (as always) for a none American as well!


  2. I believe that citizens should only have a passive means to defend themselves. I think that there are to many unknowns when dealing with possible threats from other countries. Having an active means to defend yourselves could start treading on national security issues when dealing with other countries or even state sponsored terrorist groups. Not that I know that much but I think that you would have to know a lot more information about your target and if you knew that much then why would you not contact the proper authorities? The safety rules that we use in the USMC could help. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire. Keep the weapon on safe until your ready to fire. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded. Never point the weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot. Know your target and what lies beyond. The last rule is probably the most important one in this case.

    1. Thank you Kenneth, very good points. I agree, I think the international issue would be a very big one. If someone physically broke into your house, store, or business they would be on your property. But if someone broke into your computers, they could be coming from anywhere, or any country. And what if they are spoofing their IP address or using a proxy network like Tor? They could even be using a machine in a different country that they took over to attack with, and the owner of the zombie computer may not even know that it has been compromised.

      What if North Korean backed hackers used a bunch of zombie systems in Iran to attack a large amount of American businesses? What if these businesses had a means of cyber self-defense and retaliated against Iran. What would that do to the political atmosphere? Would Iran believe that these businesses were just defending themselves? Or would they use the proof of American systems attacking their systems as propaganda?

      Quite a can of worms, but this is why it is taking countries so long to create cyber legislation.

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