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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 reconsider the relationship between legitimate security interests and the effective protection of human rights.

Duration seit 07/2014
Sponsors Eigenfinanzierung
Research Team
Conference contribution and other activities
Research Team


Working Paper:

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

Book contributions and chapters:

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

Other publications:

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

Conference contribution and other activities

Lectures and Presentations:

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

Ingolf Pernice, Prof. Dr. Dr.

Research Director: Global Constitutionalism

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