Against ‘Against Data Exceptionalism’

Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology 2/2016

7 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2016 Last revised: 15 Feb 2017

See all articles by Dan Svantesson

Dan Svantesson

Bond University - School of Law

Date Written: July 27, 2016


The April 2016 issue of the Stanford Law Review (Volume 68, Issue 4) contains an interesting article by Assistant Professor Andrew Keane Woods. In that article, titled ‘Against Data Exceptionalism’, Woods seeks to challenge the view that the nature of data is incompatible with existing territorial notions of jurisdiction. He argues that the nature of data is not unique, and that existing jurisdictional principles rooted in territoriality can be applied to data.

This is my response to his claims. I argue that Woods fails to refute ‘data exceptionalism’, and that his description of relevant jurisdictional issues is based on a misunderstanding leading to a conflation of different jurisdictional questions.

Keywords: Data Exceptionalism, Territoriality, Jurisdiction, Data Privacy, Internet Law

Suggested Citation

Svantesson, Dan, Against ‘Against Data Exceptionalism’ (July 27, 2016). Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology 2/2016. Available at SSRN: or

Dan Svantesson (Contact Author)

Bond University - School of Law ( email )

Gold Coast, QLD 4229

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