This is neat. A couple of days ago, Rick Bennet popped up on the blog to discuss the Letter of Marque and cyber privateering and I thought it was cool that he had a blog dedicated to exploring the concepts. This is good because we need more folks with a different eye to pick this stuff apart. Be sure to also check out Rick’s book and I have provided the link below.

     His recent post on Australia and the potential of them issuing a LoM is interesting, and I made the comment that the individual states there are free to structure their constitutions to allow things like ‘bills of attainder‘ . So a state setting up a Letter of Marque might not be a stretch. The Declaration of Paris comes into play as well, but if bills of attainder could be done, I don’t see how a LoM would be a bridge too far? So with that said, here is the link to his blog. –Matt

The Morgan Doctrine

By Rick Bennett

Author of Destroying Angel

     CYBER PRIVATEERS could be the new, effective, and highly paid army of swashbucklers. The Monroe Doctrine stated any attack in the Americas would be considered an attack on the United States. THE MORGAN DOCTRINE (after my fictional Morgan Rapier) asserts that any foreign cyber attack on US-based computers is an act of war, and retaliation (ie, looting) may take place on the perpetrator of that attack, wherever he/she/it may be located. Good policy or just a good novel?

Background: Welcome black hats, white hats and cyber swashbucklers

     The Revolutionary War was fought, financed, and pretty well WON by bonded privateers, legalized pirates who were given Letters of Marque and Reprisal by the Continental Congress and authorized to attack, capture and monetize British ships. The purpose of this site is to explore the possibility of a modern-day doctrine much like the Monroe Doctrine, by means of which the U.S. government could legally and, more importantly, effectively stop international hackers. Current cybercrime law is not only ineffective, but downright stupid. My Linux servers are attacked hundreds of times a day (mostly from China and former USSR domains), yet if I retaliate against those servers with some creative technology at my disposal (I know some VERY smart guys), then I am in violation of federal law and subject to some onerous penalties. We need more than a new law. We need a new international doctrine. I call it The Morgan Doctrine, named after Morgan Rapier, a fictional character I’ve created (hey, this is my way of establishing ownership of the concept, should it ever see the light of day).

     Why a new international doctrine? Simply, nothing else will work. Introduced on December 2, 1823, the Monroe Doctrine told the world to keep their hands off the Americas. Combine this with current legal thinking on “hot pursuit” of fugitives. In 1917 the US Army went into Mexico after Pancho Villa. More recently, in 1960 Israeli Mossad agents abducted Adolf Eichmann from Argentina. Granted, much of the world regards the Eichmann advanture as a violation of international law. I don’t share that opinion and therefore use it as the third leg of my Monroe-Pancho-Aldof platform for The Morgan Doctrine.

     If someone comes into your home and attacks or attempts to rob you, you may shoot them dead. You may do so as long as they expire on your property. But what about cyber criminals? They attack you in your home from their homes. Retaliate in kind, and you go to jail. The Morgan Doctrine states simply that if you attack my computers (or my banking assets held in US-based computers), then under a certain set of well-defined conditions, a licensed and bonded “cyber privateer” may attack you in your home country and split the proceeds with the U.S. government. For the sake of argument, let’s call it a 50-50 split (heh heh).

     Right now, American law enforcement is completely unequipped to deal with the sheer number international cyber hackers. Sure, I could report each of the thousand daily attacks to the FBI, as could the millions of other attackees in the USA. But the volume of such reports would make any meaningful resolution laughable. Not to mention that the FBI has no jurisdiction outside the USA. Yet to make such “enforcement” profitable to recognized (ie, “bonded” “deputized”) privateers, as Heath Ledger’s Joker said in his last role, “Now you’re talking!” You raid our bank accounts, we raid yours. You make money from off-shore child pornography, we’re going to loot your bank accounts and, with some REALLY creative black hat operations, you will be taken off the grid worldwide to the extent that you’ll not even complete a cell phone conversation for the remainder of your miserable depraved life. Okay, that last part probably won’t fly, but you get my drift.

     The purpose of this site is to explore the mechanics, legalities and practicality of The Morgan Doctrine.

     And I will be the sole arbiter of whether or not your comments get posted. As Mel Brooks wrote, “It’s good to be king.”

Link to blog here.

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