Private persons and entities are increasingly adopting aggressive “active defense” measures (i.e., “hack back”) against Internet‐based attacks that can infringe the rights of innocent persons. In this paper, I argue that aggressive active defense cannot be justified by the Necessity Principle, which defines a moral liberty to infringe the right of an innocent person if necessary to achieve a significantly greater moral good. It is a necessary condition for justifiably acting under an ethical principle that we have adequate reason to believe its application‐conditions are satisfied. Since, absent special knowledge, the victim of a hacker attack will not be able to reliably predict the direct or indirect consequences of aggressive countermeasures, she lacks adequate reason to think that those measures will achieve a good that significantly outweighs the evil that is done to innocent parties.
Einar Himma, K. (2004), "Targeting the innocent: Active defense and the moral immunity of innocent persons from aggression", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 31-40. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960480000241Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited