New First Principles? Assessing the Internet's Challenges to Jurisdiction

66 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2012

See all articles by Teresa Scassa

Teresa Scassa

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Robert J. Currie

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The globalized and decentralized Internet has become the new locus for a wide range of human activity, including commerce, crime, communications and cultural production. Activities which were once at the core of domestic jurisdiction have moved onto the Internet, and in doing so, have presented numerous challenges to the ability of states to exercise jurisdiction. In writing about these challenges, some scholars have characterized the Internet as a separate “space” and many refer to state jurisdiction over Internet activities as “extraterritorial.” This article examines these challenges in the context of the overall international law of jurisdiction, rather than focusing on any one substantive area. This article argues that while the Internet may push at the boundaries of traditional principles of jurisdiction in public international law, it has not supplanted them. The article explores the principles of jurisdiction, including the evolving concept of “qualified territoriality,” and demonstrates how these principles continue to apply in the Internet context. The article examines how states exercise their authority with respect to Internet activities by addressing governance issues, by engaging in normative ordering for the Internet, and by extending the reach of their domestic laws to capture Internet-based activities. Lastly, the article concludes by offering a set of “first principles,” in the form of policy precepts, to guide the evolution of public international law norms and to address problems particular to the context of the global Internet.

Keywords: Internet, jurisdiction, extraterritorial, international law, globalization

Suggested Citation

Scassa, Teresa and Currie, Robert J., New First Principles? Assessing the Internet's Challenges to Jurisdiction (2011). Georgetown Journal of International Law, Vol. 42, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2116364

Teresa Scassa

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada
6135625800x3872 (Phone)
6135645124 (Fax)

Robert J. Currie (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law ( email )

6061 University Avenue
6061 University Ave
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

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