Cross-border Internet and law – what frameworks? – WS 04 2015

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4 June 2015 | 14:30-16:00
Programme overview 2015

Session teaser

The workshop will discuss the tension between the cross-border nature of the Internet and national laws in Europe and beyond. The speakers will explore together with the audience the rising number of direct requests from one country to Internet companies in other jurisdictions and the evolution of intermediary liability regimes and Terms of Service in this context.

Session description

A plethora of recent cases in Europe show the tension between the cross-border nature of the Internet and geographically defined national laws.

The Microsoft case before a New York court raises questions regarding the extraterritorial extension of sovereignty and norms for access to user data on servers physically located in the Irish jurisdiction. The Delfi v Estonia case in front of the European Court of Human Rights touches upon the responsibility of intermediaries to remove content from their platforms. The “right to be de-indexed” decision by the Court of Justice of the EU raises questions regarding role of companies in making determinations on requests they receive. At the same time, recent acts of terrorism in Europe triggered a debate around the responsibility of platforms to monitor and remove related content. Moreover, the horizontal nature of the EU intermediary liability regime triggers increasingly discussions around the separation of copyright and Freedom of Expression issues. Last, but not least, what is the role of Terms of Services of intermediaries in that regard, what the right balance between legitimate cybersecurity concerns and fundamental online freedoms?

What unites all these hot topics is the increasing number of cross-border requests Internet companies and operators receive from public authorities, courts and individuals. What does this mean for the application of the rule of law online and what frameworks can be developed to address these new challenges and enable the coexistence of diverse national laws on the transnational Internet and guarantee due process, transparency and accountability?


Jurisdiction, Intermediary Liability, Law, Requests, Hate Speech, Terrorism, Security, Right to be De-Indexed, Defamation


Dynamic Roundtable Discussion: In the beginning, each key participant makes a 3-4 minutes intervention to raise a specific topic, which will be immediately discussed in a short, succinct form with the audience. This format is intended to allow a dynamic debate and cover the different facets of the topic.

Further reading


  • Focal Point: Paul Fehlinger, Internet & Jurisdiction Project
  • Org team:
    • Jeremy Malcolm, Electronic Frontier Foundation
    • Ana Neves, UMIC-Knowledge Society Agency in Portugal
    • Yuliya Morentes, Together against Cybercrime
    • Kostas Rossoglou, Yelp
  • Key participants|Panelists:
    • Gabrielle Guillemin, Legal Officer, Article 19
    • Patrick Penninckx, Head of Department - Information Society at Council of Europe, Council of Europe
    • Kostas Rossoglou, Head of EU Public Policy, Yelp
    • Megan Richards, Director for Coordination, DG Connect, European Commission
  • Moderator: Paul Fehlinger, Internet & Jurisdiction Project
  • Reporter: tbd
  • Remote moderator: tbd

Current discussion

See the discussion tab on the upper left side of this page

Mailing list


Video record

Video record

Final report

  • A plethora of recent cases in Europe show the tension between the cross-border nature of the Internet and geographically defined national laws
  • In the absence of operational frameworks for cross-border requests for domain seizures, content takedowns and access to user data, states struggle to enforce the rule of law online; companies, especially smaller ones, struggle with the rising number of requests from multiple jurisdictions; and Internet users worry that fundamental rights are not sufficiently ensured in cross-border situations.
  • The panelists and audience stressed in their interventions the pressing need for operational solutions to handle the multiplicity of different national laws online and ensure transnational due process, in order to avoid a re-nationalization of cyberspaces along physical boundaries of nation states.

Session twitter hashtag

Hashtag: #eurodigws4