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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The cross-border internet with its transnational data flows and intermediaries spans a fragmented patchwork of national jurisdictions. As connectivity and internet penetration increase, so do conflicts between jurisdictions. Such conflicts challenge the Westphalian international system, and traditional modes of legal cooperation struggle to resolve these jurisdictional tensions. Extreme application of the principle of territoriality and the exertion of digital sovereignty put the global community on a dangerous path if employed on the global scale. If nothing is done, this legal arms race could lead to severe unintended consequences for the future of the global digital economy, human rights, cybersecurity, and the technical internet infrastructure. Twenty-first century digital realities challenge traditional modes of international legal cooperation, revealing an institutional gap in internet governance that may be solved by drawing lessons from the technical governance of the internet. Preserving the global character of the internet, fighting illicit online behaviour, and establishing procedural interoperability and due process across borders demand innovative cooperation mechanisms as transnational as the internet itself. This chapter argues that issue-based multistakeholder policy networks are necessary and the right approach to develop scalable solutions for cross-border legal challenges with regard to data flows, online content, or domains.

Keywords: internet jurisdiction, multistakeholder cooperation, legal interoperability, policy coherence, standards

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