The Internet and the Global Reach of EU Law
Forthcoming, Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law (Oxford University Press)
39 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2017 Last revised: 19 Apr 2017
Date Written: February 1, 2017
EU law has significant influence on the Internet and parties outside the EU’s territorial boundaries that use it and are affected by it. The Internet has enabled the EU to extend to third countries the application of its fundamental values, including the autonomy of EU law, the rule of law, and fundamental rights. There are many examples of the EU exerting its global reach regarding the Internet, particularly in data protection law, but also in areas such as Internet governance, international agreements, and private international law. This occurs through a variety of mechanisms, including emulation and learning; international negotiation; coercion and conditionality; and blocking recognition of third country legal measures. The EU’s actions in exercising its global reach implicate important normative issues, such as distinguishing between the furtherance of core EU legal values and the advancement of the EU’s political interests; promoting the principles of EU law as universal values; ensuring that EU legal values are upheld in practice; and determining the territorial boundaries of EU law. The influence exercised by the EU carries responsibilities towards third countries, particularly those in the developing world. The Internet may also be influencing EU law, as is shown by the changing role of the Court of Justice.
Keywords: European Union, Internet, privacy, cyberspace, data protection, EU law, European Court of Justice
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