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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, Prof. Dr. LL.M. (Harvard)

Head of Research Group and Associate Researcher: Global Constitutionalism and the Internet

Part of the research group

Part of the research programme

Former employees

Journal articles and conference proceedings

Kettemann, M. C., & Tiedeke, A. S. (2020). Back up: can users sue platforms to reinstate deleted content? Internet Policy Review, 9(2). DOI: 10.14763/2020.2.1484 Publication details

Pernice, I. (2018). Global Cybersecurity Governance. A Constitutional Analysis. Global Constitutionalism, 7(1), 112-141. DOI: 10.1017/S2045381718000023 Publication details

Pernice, I. (2018). Risk Management in the Digital Constellation – A Constitutional Perspective (part II). Revista de Internet, Derecho y Política (IDP)(27), 79-95. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). European Constitutionalism and the Constitutions of the Member States. Implications for Brexit. Boletim da Faculdade de Direito, 93(1), 211-244. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). Constituţionalismul european şi constituţiile naţionale ale statelor membre. Implicaţii pentru „Brexit”. Revista Romana de Drept european(3), 60-80. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). Editorial: Nationale Wahlen sind Europäische Wahlen. Europäische Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsrecht, 441-442. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). Brexit – Exercise of Democracy or a Challenge to Democracy, Tenth ECLN Conference (Lisbon 2017). WHI-Paper(3). Publication details

Pernice, I. (2016). EU Democratic Legitimacy and Multilevel Constitutionalism in the Digital Age. International Conference on ‘EUROPEAN ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE AND THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY’, Rome-Ventotene, August 28-30, 2015, Session 2 ‘European Democracy: Which model for the EU?. Publication details

Book contributions and chapters

Pernice, I. (2018). Coopération jurisprudentielle et la constitution composée de l’Union Européenne. In K. Lenaerts et al. (Eds.), Mélanges à l’honneur d’Antonio Tizzano (pp. 713-725). -:. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2018). Stärkung der Demokratie in der Digitalen Konstellation. In M. Ludwigs (Ed.), Festschrift für Matthias Schmidt-Preuss zum 70. Geburtstag. i.E.:. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). E-Democracy, the Global Citizen, and Multilevel Constitutionalism. In Prins, C., Cuijpers, C., Lindseth, P.L., Rosina, M. (Eds.), Digital Democracy in a Globalized World (pp. 27-52). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). CJEU Jurisprudence and the Audience: Making Law in a Public Discourse – Ten Years after CJEU Case C-144/04 Mangold v Helm. In J. Czukzai, F. Naert (Eds.), The EU as a global actor – bridging legal theory and practice at the turn of the 21st century - Liber Amicorum in honour of Ricardo Gosalbo-Bono (pp. 113-144). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill-Nijhoff. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). Brexit – Herausforderung für Europa, Podiumsdiskussion (Sonderveranstaltung des 71. Deutschen Juristentages (zus. mit Sylvie Goulard und Werner Hoyer, moderiert von Reinhard Müller). In Ständige Deputation des Deutschen Juristentages (Ed.), Verhandlungen des 71. Deutschen Juristentages Essen 2016: Sitzungsberichte. Munich, Germany: Beck. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2016). Global Constitutionalism and the Internet: Taking People Seriously. In Hofmann, R. & Kadelbach, S. (Eds.), Law Beyond The State. Pasts and Futures (pp. 151-205). Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2015). Das Völkerrecht des Netzes. Konstitutionelle Elemente eines globalen Rechtsrahmens für das Internet. In Biaggini, G., Diggelmann, O., & Kaufmann, C. (Ed), Polis und Kosmopolis: Festschrift für Daniel Thürer. Zürich/St. Gallen, Switzerland: DIKE/ Nomos. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2014). Die Verfassung der Internetgesellschaft. In A. Blankenagel, Den Verfassungsstaat nachdenken (pp. 171-208). Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2013). Die Politik und die Internet-Gesellschaft. In Franzius, C. (Ed.), Beharren, Bewegen. Festschrift für Michael Kloepfer zum 70. Geburtstag (pp. 715-733). Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. Publication details

Working paper

Tiedeke, A. S. (2022). Self-statification of corporate actors: tracing modes of corporate engagements with public international law. European Society of International Law (ESIL) Papers, 2022(12). Publication details

Pernice, I. (2018). Stärkung der Demokratie in der digitalen Konstellation. Einführung zur öff. Anhörung des Ausschusses für Verfassungsfragen (AFCO) des Europäischen Parlaments am 25. April 2018 zum Thema: “Globalization Trilemma. How to Reconcile Globalization, Democracy and Welfare – Lessons for the EU. European Parliament: AFCO Hearings. Publication details

Celeste, E. (2018). Digital Constitutionalism: Mapping the Constitutional Response to Digital Technology’s Challenges. HIIG Discussion Paper Series, 2018(2). DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3219905 Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). Vom Völkerrecht des Netzes zur Verfassung des Internets: Privacy und Digitale Sicherheit im Zeichen eines schrittweisen Paradigmenwechsels. HIIG Discussion Paper Series. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). Die Verfassung der Internetgesellschaft: Zur Rolle von Staat und Verfassung im Zuge der digitalen Revolution. HIIG Discussion Paper Series. Publication details

Pernice, I. (2017). Risk Management in the Digital Constellation – A Constitutional Perspective. HIIG Discussion Paper Series. Publication details

Other publications

Celeste E. (2018). What is Digital Constitutionalism?. Publication details

Djeffal, C. (2016). The surveillance you have paid for – Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things, Retrieved from Publication details

Lectures and presentations

Völkerrecht des Netzes
Menschenrechte im digitalen Raum. SPD Bundestagsfraktion, Berlin, Germany: 02.12.2022 Further information

Matthias C. Kettemann

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