The Internet challenges some of the most fundamental assumptions behind international law. At the same time, international law shapes and influences the evolution of the Internet.
Too few international lawyers have taken up the challenge of critically analyzing the relationship of their field and information and communication technologies. There are even fewer courses that allow students to gain in-depth knowledge of the role of law (and other rules) in the regulation of the online environment.
This is why I have decided to hold a course on international law and the Internet in the winter term 2011 at the University of Graz. Registration is now open for students.
The course – the University’s first on international legal implications of the
Internet – will investigate the role of international law in solving legal, political,
social and economic conflicts related information and communication
I will first analyze attempts to regulate the Internet through
Internet Governance and will then focus on intricate legal problems of the
Internet age. Among the topics I will discuss are cyber war, cyber terrorism
and cyber crime; online pornography and sexual exploitation; changing
conceptions of privacy on the Internet (Facebook); the influence of social
media on revolutions (Skype); statal vs. multistakeholder-oriented regulatory
approaches; global commons and the Internet; censorship and freedom of
expression; natural hegemonies (Google); and strategies to overcome the
digital divide. The role and mechanics of human rights protection on the
Internet will be a common theme.
Though non-students cannot participate in the course itself, I will post the materials here to allow all readers to take part in the broader debate I wish to instigate.
In the future, I will also post, as time allows, my take on internaitonal legal developments with regard to the Internet and issues of Internet Governance.
I am looking forward to a vigorous discucsion. There's nothing better than some good, critical thinking. The Internet needs it. And we need the Internet to facilitate it.