The Regulation of Space and Cyberspace: One coin, Two sides

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


ECU Security Research Institute




Biddington, B. (2012). The Regulation of Space and Cyberspace: One coin, Two sides . Proceedings of 13th Australian Information Warfare Conference. (pp. 35-43). Perth WA. Available here.


In the 1960s, during some very tense days in the Cold War the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR) brokered a deal in the United Nations for a treaty regime to govern human activities in outer space. This regime has served well enough for almost 50 years. In recent years, however, fears of space weaponisation, the proliferation of space debris in the Low Earth Orbits (LEO) and increasing demands on the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) have led to demands for regulatory reform. Some nations now consider space to be the fourth domain of modern warfare. Meanwhile, the cyber domain continues to develop apace. The world is struggling to determine whether, and if so how, to regulate the cyberspace. The United States now considers cyberspace to be the fifth domain of warfare and has announced that it reserves the right to meet cyber attacks, on interests it considers vital, with conventional kinetic responses. The space and cyberspace domains overlap and have mutual dependencies which demand a degree of coherence and integration in legislative, policy, and regulatory responses. There are also some important differences and distinctions. This paper explores some of the dilemmas that are faced by decision-makers who seek to make both the space and cyberspace domains safe and secure places which will deliver benefit to humans across the planet long into the future.

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