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The Public International Law of the Internet

The rapid development of the internet and the increasing digitalisation of everyday life is raising new legal questions worldwide: Which law is applicable to which aspect of a citizen’s life? What does a nation’s digital sovereignty mean in an era of a potentially limitless cyberspace? How can fundamental human rights be safeguarded against the actions of nation states or private actors? What responses can the international community find to the challenges of cybercrime, cyberwar and cyber attacks by individuals, groups and states? What innovative regulatory approaches and processes for the emergence of global standards or global law are available and how could these be drawn up?

The topic of the Public International Law of the Internet does not limit itself to considering the classic questions of public international law, but refers to the contemporary global dimension by connecting questions of international and constitutional law with those of private law, especially of commercial law and competition law, as well as security and criminal law.

A special focus of the research lies in the principles and limits of intelligence activities in terms of mass surveillance. Effective regulation and democratic control are only sporadically present in this area and are almost absent at the international level. Given that the internet and the associated possibility of analysing large amounts of data means that individuals are affected more than in the era of classic public international law, it is necessary to redefine the relationship between legitimate security interests and the effective protection of human rights.

Durationseit 07/2014


Matthias C. Kettemann, PD, Mag., Dr., LL.M.

Associated Researcher: Leibniz-Insitut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Insitut

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Lectures and presentations

Risk Management in the Digital Society - A Constitutional Perspective
Managing risk in the digital society: Internet, Law & Politics (Session: Panel on Privacy & Data Protection). Law and Political Science Studies - Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Cosmocaixa, Barcelona, Spain: 30.06.2017

Ingolf Pernice

Brexit – Exercise of Democracy or a Challenge to Democracy?
10th European Constitutional Law Network. Instituto de Ciências Jurídico-Políticas, Centro de Investigação de Direito Público e a Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa, Walter-Hallstein-Institut für Europäisches Verfassungsrecht. Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal: 23.06.2017

Ingolf Pernice

Regulating IT-Security
Journée d'étude -Cyberespionnage et surveillance numérique. Maison de la Recherche, Paris, France: 23.09.2016

Christian Djeffal

Global Constitutionalism and the Internet
Festkolloquium zur 100-Jahrfeier der juristischen Fakultät der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Law Faculty. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt a.M., Germany: 12.06.2014

Ingolf Pernice


Sonderveranstaltung des 71. Deutschen Juristentages: Brexit – Herausforderung für Europa. Deutscher Juristentag. Grugahalle, Essen, Germany: 15.09.2016

Ingolf Pernice

Organisation of events

13. Diplomatenkolleg des Auswärtigen Amtes
From 20.09.2018 to 20.09.2018. Walter Hallstein-Institut, Berlin, Germany (International)

Ingolf Pernice

Völkerrecht des Netzes
08.09.2014. Walter-Hallstein Institut, Berlin, Germany. Co-Organised by: Office of Foreign Affairs (National)

Emma Peters, Adrian Haase, Osvaldo Saldías, Ingolf Pernice