The focus of the symposium is not Internet security/surveillance, but it is the issue of diversity of laws/values in the context of a global communication medium. There are some intersections between these areas e.g. where States have different surveillance standards and their enforcement problems when the relevant infrastructure is not on their territory. For more details see About the Symposium.

Day 1 - 10 September 2014


Welcome Address 9.00 am 

Richard Ireland (legal historian)

Roundtable:  9.15 – 10.45 am - Scoping the Issue – An Industry and Governmental Perspective In this panel industry representatives and government players are invited to reflect on their recent uncomfortable exposure to the mismatch between national laws and transnational online communications, as well as the proposal to create a European-only communication network and its ‘free speech’ legitimacy.

Mike Godwin Senior Legal Advisor, Global Internet Policy Project, Internews mp4

Cornelia Kutterer Digital Policy Director, EMEA, Microsoft Legal & Corporate Affairs, Brussels mp4

Tjabbe Bos Policy Officer, European Commission, DG CONNECT mp4

John Carr Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety mp4

Olivier Esper Senior Manager, Public Policy, Google, Paris mp4


Panel 2:  11.00 – 1.00 pm - Erecting Cyber-Borders to Uphold National or Regional Law: ‘Free Speech’ versus Cultural Diversity/National Identity? This panel examines the territorial fragmentation of the internet and its legal and political drivers. It challenges the view that incidents such as the blocking of ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ video by YouTube in Egypt and Libya (based on their national legal standards) or the blocking of foreign political material in China (based on its national legal standards) or the blocking of Twitter in Turkey are in principle distinguishable from the increasing blocking requests to online intermediaries by Western democratic governments (e.g. Nazi memorabilia in Germany and France, data protection in Europe generally, online gambling in the US). What is different is the scale and the substantive content of the laws triggering the blocking of content on cyberborders; yet these are an expression of each State’s sovereign right to arrange their internal affairs as they please. Furthermore, is the ‘collateral damage’ arising from internet censorship distinguishable from traditional censorship by pre-internet communication bottlenecks? What has changed, if anything? How free should ‘free speech’ be? Does the internet phenomenon recalibrate the balance between freedom of expression and other fundamental values? How real are 'national' identity and 'national' self-determination as values legitimizing online censorship? In Western democractic States is blocking of foreign illegal content a top-down or in fact a bottom-up movement? 

On national/regional gatekeeping:

Lulu Wei (law) Gatekeeping in the Chinese Internet Regulatory Order and the Legitimacy Challenges mp4  Lulu's PPT

Professor Stephanie Schiedermair (law) The Fragmentation of the Internet illustrated by the European Right to Be Forgotten mp4

On harmonisation and its hurdles:

Professor Guy Berger (UNESCO) International standards and the Nation State: the Relation of the Whole to the Sum of the Parts Guy's PPT

Dr Jan Oster (law) Speech without Borders – Speech without Limits? mp4 Jan's PPT

Panel 3: 2.00 - 3.45pm - Not Erecting Cyber-Borders: the Democratic Deficit & Economic Effect of the Origin Approach This panel explores the legal and political problems of accepting the argument by corporations to leave it solely to their state of origin to govern their online activities, as well as the economic dimension of this approach.  How would such a position affect States and what are its legitimacy problems? Is 'free speech' the new 'free trade'?  But for a very few exceptions, the origin approach has – on a de jure level - not been endorsed by States, even if they largely have had to accept its de facto reality, essentially due to the territorial State’s inability to impose their rules on foreign online actors.  The few exceptions when States have in fact endorsed the origin rule help to explain the conditions under which this corporate preference may be acceptable to States.

Economic protectionism / gatekeeping:

Professor Christine Hurt (law) Protecting Gambling or Protecting Gambling? - The Economic Dimension of Borderless Online 'Speech' mp4

On the weakening of the 'State' and responses?

Dr Uta Kohl (law) The Corporate Argument for the Home Rule - Towards a Positive Conception of Anarchy? 

Professor Martin Hochhuth (law) My Sole Agent and Protector - Why there are No Democratic Alternatives to the State mp4  Martin's PPT1 & Martin's PPT2

Dr Melissa Aronczyk (media studies) Nation branding and identity (cyber-) politics Melissa's PPT


Panel 4: 4.00 – 6.00 pm - Porous Cyber-Borders - a Compromise Solution? This panel explores the possibilities of porous cyberborders and the legal and political obstacles to this compromise that seeks to preserve both national law and values and the transnationality of the internet. In law, this compromise is embodied in the ‘targeting’ or ‘directing’ approach to jurisdiction (or a moderate effects doctrine under international law) which is currently favoured by most academics, but is less keenly endorsed by governments.  Large industry players implement this compromise solution by having, localised platforms, e.g., that comply with local law and blocking requests, whilst retaining global sites as an alternative fall-back option. What are the implications of such a layered internet that gives us access to traditional normativity on localised platforms but also to the ‘wild west’ on global platforms? How does it affect our relationship to the State? And who sets the norms for the ‘wild west’? Can such layers truly co-exist? And what would it take for such a layered internet to function well - both from providers and regulatory authorities? Could it work for a social networking site as well it does for a book seller or a search engine? 

Justifying 'targeting' (or porous cyber-borders) and its technological implementation

Graham Smith (law) The Stealthy Rise of Targeting in Europe (and its Challenges) mp4    Graham's PPT

Dr Georg Haibach (European Commission Civil Justice Policy Unit) Conflicts of Jurisdictions and Laws in the Internet

Professor Dan Svantesson (law) Regulation through Geo-Identification Technology - an All-or-Nothing Answer to Territoriality? mp4 Dan's PPT

Alternative 'geographies': internet jurisdiction = a First World Problem? 

Professor Barney Warf (human geography) Spatializing Cyberspace: How Real and Virtual Spaces are Shot through with Each Other mp4  Barney's PPT


Day 2 – 11 September 2014

Panel 5: 9.00 – 10.45am - Internet Globalisation: Insights from other Global Governance Regimes This IR panel approaches the question of the future of the internet (vis-à-vis statehood/sovereignty) as either fragmented or homogenised through the lens of global governance literature.  While interdependence and the benefits of cooperation have led States to participate in all kinds of global governance systems (international monetary policy, trade agreements, climate change responses – even the UDRP), this panel will interrogate to what extent, if at all, the normative arguments and practical experiences from these existing regimes offer insights for the resolution of the conflict between the powers and interests pulling towards globalisation or glocalisation on the internet.

The ideological dimension of the freedom-v-censorship debate:

Dr Madeline Carr (international politics) Internet Freedom vs Internet ‘Sovereignty’: Confronting the Grey Area in Between mp4

Internet transnationality within the wider globalization/democratic accountability context:

Professor Richard Beardsworth (international politics)  Sovereignty, Restraint and an Open Internet  mp4    Richard's PPT

Professor Jan Aart Scholte (international politics) Polycentrism and Democratic Accountability in Internet Governance mp4  Jan Aart's PPT

Parallel internet governance experiences e.g. ICANN:

Professor Marianne Franklin (global media and politics) “Don’t Believe the Hype”: Facts and Fictions about Human Rights Narratives for the Internet After Snowden mp4


Panel 6: 11.00 – 12.30 pm - The Future of the Past – The Nation State, the Notion of Territory, Diversity and Pluralism and Map-Making and its Geopolitical Significance This panel ventures into new grounds by stepping outside familiar internet governance grounds. It explores issues that touch upon the legal and political conflict between Nation State and the internet, such as the notion of territory as a political organising principle; the feasibility of territorially overlapping governance claims in past pluralist empires and narratives of map-making.

The territorial nation-state on its way out?

Professor Cedric Ryngaert (law) Alternatives to Territoriality as a Principle of Jurisdictional Order mp4

Professor Philippe Ségur (legal history)  The Internet as an Asylum? A Legal Historian’s Perspective mp4    Philippe's PPT

Professor Georg Glasze (cultural geography) Geoinformation, cartographic (re-)presentation and the nation state:  a co-constitutive relation and its transformation in the digital age mp4   Georg's PPT


Summing Up: Dr Uta Kohl, Dr Madeline Carr, Prof Richard Beardsworth