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Research Guide: International Internet Law
Written by: Hunter Whaley

“The first computer network was involving servers placed in the United States, Norway, and England. Thus, the computer network has from the very beginning been an international network.”[1]

Background and Governance

For many, the internet has become an essential part of our lives. While the law at one time distinguished between traditional legal issues and "cyber" issues, the law is evolving to encompass many computer topics, often times with unique policies. International internet law is a somewhat young area of the law, one which is in continual flux based on any number of events such as international conflicts, privacy and surveillance issues, cybercrime and cyberwarfare, and economic developments. While countries grapple with how best to regulate cyberlaw within their own borders, international internet law lacks comprehensive conventions and codes. But do not despair. While issues such as governance of the internet are unique and require specific discussion, researchers may look to traditional international legal topics for guidance on international internet law issues.

This guide is intended to help those unfamiliar with international cyberlaw discover general sources, and once a background has been established, indicate resources on more focused areas of international internet Law. The guide is not intended to teach substantive law, but the framework within which the law is disseminated. This guide will not deal with issues regarding U.S. internet law.

Note: Many, if not all, of the resources in this section will provide a good background of international internet law. Within this background discussion the issue of governing and regulating the internet will be considered.

Print Sources

Below are a few selected works, available in the Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, that provide good overviews of the issues concerning international internet law. This is not an exhaustive list and new materials are always being created to keep up with rapidly changing internet technologies. You are encouraged to look for updated materials through Clio (the Columbia University online catalog) and Pegasus (the Law Libray's specific catalog).

International Internet Law 4th Floor. K7625 .K85 2012

Beginning with jurisdictional issues, moving to sources of international internet law, and ending with a discussion on international governance issues, International Internet Law provides an excellent overview of many of the questions this relatively new area of the law faces. The book looks at who controls the internet and how, through multiple perspectives. The authors primarily focus on developments from the European Union (EU) but compare and contrast similar policies from the U.S. and Asia (China and Singapore).

Internet Law in a nutshell B8-OFS. KF390.5 .C6 R87 2009

This book provides a quick introduction to numerous internet law topics including trademarks, torts, privacy, and transnational and jurisdictional issues. Especially notable is the overview of the internet and a discussion of many of the common technical acronyms used. Before diving into more complicated technical policy materials, make sure to skim this book, or at least have it close by.

Global Internet Law in a nutshell Reserve. KF390.5.C6 R87 2016; 4th Floor. KF390.5 .C6 R87 2013

Building on Internet Law in a nutshell, this introductory book tackles many of the same issues with less of the technical background and more discussion from an international perspective. Highlights include international contract law, transborder torts, global privacy issues, international cybercrime enforcement, and international intellectual property regulation.

Cyberspace Law: censorship and regulation of the internet 4th Floor. KF390.5 .C6 C94 2013

This book provides a brief history of internet regulation beginning in the 1990s, with a particular focus on freedom of speech, net neutrality, and efforts of intellectual property owners to compel Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to monitor for violations.

Real law @ virtual space : communication regulation in cyberspace 4th Floor. K564.C6 R43 2005

This second edition gives a brief overview of changes in the law after the 2001 attack on New York and then presents a series of chapters around such topics such as indecency, property interest, and personal interest and liability with commentary on cases and legislation.

Governance in 'Cyberspace' 4th Floor. K564 .C6 G74 1999

Although a little dated, Governance in Cyberspace gives a 'historic' look at the issues as the internet we know today began to take off. Problems of access, regulation, policing policies, jurisdiction, freedom of expression, and property rights are discussed in depth. One can look back on the fledgling groups and organizations that grew to become major stakeholders in today's internet governance. An added bonus of buzzwords like cyber and e-mail make this background material fun and interesting to browse.

Regulatory Groups

Internet Governance Forum

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was established by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2006. Its UN mandate gives it convening power and the authority to serve as a neutral space for all actors on an equal footing. The IGF facilitates a common understanding of how to maximize internet opportunities and address risks and challenges that arise. Important resources include the past year's workshop proposals and reports and a handbook on global internet best practices.

Global Commission on Internet Governance

The Global Commission on Internet Governance is a two year working group conducting and supporting independent research on internet-related dimensions of global public policy. Key issues to be addressed by the commission include governance legitimacy and regulation, innovation, online rights and systemic risk. Due to sunset in 2016, the commission has created a number of detailed publications over its time and provides a wealth of information.

Internet Corporation for Assignment of Names and Numbers (ICANN)

A private organization that manages internet resources, ICANN is primarily known for coordinating the internet's Domain Name System (DNS). The organizations is run by a board of directors composed of 16 voting members and 5 liaison representatives. ICANN is a not-for-profit corporation organized under California law in 1998, and originally operated under a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). Following two years of talks between ICANN and the DOC, ICANN submitted a proposal to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in April, 2016 to end direct U.S. government oversight control and replace it with global multi-stakeholder oversight.

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

UNCITRAL promotes the progressive harmonization and unification of international trade law by preparing and promoting the use and adoption of legislative and non-legislative instruments in a number of key areas of commercial law. Those areas include dispute resolution, international contract practices, transport, insolvency, electronic commerce, international payments, secured transactions, procurement and sales of goods. Full texts of the model rules created by the Commission are available, as are legal guides on related subjects. The working group on Electronic Commerce has drafted documents concerning topics such as electronic payment methods and security, electronic signatures, data interchange, and transferable records.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

WIPO, which administers most of the major multi-lateral intellectual property conventions, provides access to the texts of treaties that it administers, as well as a large collection of national legislation and regional and other non-WIPO treaties. WIPO Lex provides a searchable and browsable collection of national IP legislation, WIPO-administered treaties, and bilateral and regional IP-law treaties.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

OECD's goal is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. Through the use of agreements, recommendations, data collection, and peer reviews, the OECD committees discuss policy regarding this information, the Council makes decisions, and then governments implement recommendations. As economies become more tied to the internet and electronic commerce, the OECD has noted the internet as service of importance. It has also recognized that the issue of future internet governance may address a wide array of economic and social challenges.


On Viewing Cyberspace

The internet is a shared network of computers, spread across the globe. It is an international space that may not be subject to any sovereignty. Looking to previous instances of jurisdictional practices concerning similar, albeit physical, common spaces may guide developing regulations for this new cyber space. Three international spaces in particular educate future policies concerning the internet:

  1. Law of the sea The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.
  2. Antarctic Treaty The treaty, sets aside Antarctica for peaceful purposes to be used as a scientific preserve. It establishes rules for exchanging information from scientific investigations and promotes cooperation between States. The treaty bans military activity on that continent and permits consultative states to conduct inspections
  3. Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies This treaty cements the idea that spaces may be available to all members of the international community and cannot be appropriated.

Applicable to the Internet

A number of instruments have been adopted at the EU level to deal with the most crucial matters related to private international law (namely the Brussels and Rome Regulations).

Rome I and Rome II Regulation

Rome I is a regulation which governs the choice of law in the European Union. The European Parliament and the European Council adopted Regulation (EC) No 593/2008 of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I Regulation). The adoption of Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II Regulation) has enabled the creation of a uniform set of conflict-of-law rules for non-contractual obligations in civil and commercial matters. It thus seeks to improve legal certainty and the predictability of the outcome of litigation.

Brussels Regulation on Jurisdiction (Brussels I)

The Brussels Convention is a set of rules regulating which courts have jurisdiction in legal disputes of a civil or commercial nature between individuals from different member states of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). It has detailed rules assigning jurisdiction for the dispute to be heard and governs the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgements in Civil and Commercial Matters (Lugano Convention) (HTML version here)

The Lugano Convention extends Brussels I to states that are not eligible for Brussels I participation. Its effects are materially the same as the 2001 Brussels Regulation and it governs issues of jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments between the European Union member states and the European Free Trade Association countries

Notable Cases

Dow Jones v. Gutnich

Any entity doing business on the internet may be subject to divergent jurisdictional rules in multiple sovereignties. In 2002 the High Court of Australia held that an Australian plaintiff could sue Dow Jones and another defendant for libel, based on evidence that several hundred people from Australia accessed the Dow Jones website. The court held that because harm happened in Australia, the plaintiff could sue there.

Traditional Sources of International Law

This research guide covers with international internet law: a topic that is growing into a distinct area but has its roots in traditional sources of the law. As legislators, academics, and organizations debate how laws of such a global service should function, traditional international laws will be necessary to fill the gaps that have not been regulated yet. For background on international law, please see these helpful resources:

Research Guides

Columbia Law Library's Guide to Public International Law.

Columbia Law Library's Guide to Finding Books and Articles on International and Foreign Law

Books and Documents

Restatement of the law, the foreign relations law of the United States 3rd Floor Reserve. JX234.A9 1987

Traditional sources of international law are helping guide the development of international law. §102 of this volume describes the sources of international law and discusses how international law can develop.

Sources of International Law: An Introduction

As a quick summation of the sources of international law, this document, written by London School of Economics Professor Christopher Greenwood, outlines the four basic sources of international law described in The Statute of the ICJ, Art. 38.

Topics of International Internet Law


Privacy is an increasingly important issue on the internet. Questions concerning anonymity on social networks have taken a back seat to concerns of whether private information stored in secured databases is really private. Scandals such as Wikileaks and the Panama Papers are becoming more common. As companies store information all over the world, information often travels through many jurisdictions before reaching an end user. Whose responsibility is it to monitor this traffic? Governments are putting pressure on ISPs to police the data that travels along their networks while ISPs and privacy organizations are pushing back. These are but some of the topics that international internet privacy legislation is attempting to regulate.

Pro tip: securely browsing the internet and protecting your data is becoming more difficult as websites track our movements across the web via cookies, http referrers, and agents. You can arrest some of this tracking by using extensions like HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, and Disconnect. Even better, you can use a high quality VPN. If you think Google knows enough about you, you can use privacy oriented search engines like Duck Duck Go.


General Data Protection Regulation replacing EC No. 95/46 Directive on Data Protection in 2016

Available in multiple languages, the European Directive on Data Protection regulates the processing of personal data and limits the transmission of such data. Passed in 1995, the directive indicates that personal data should not be processed at all, except when certain conditions are met. These conditions fall into three categories: transparency, legitimate purpose, and proportionality. Later in 2016, this directive will be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation

OECD Transborder Flow of Data (1980)

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

Articles from the European Convention on Human Rights have been used by many courts to bring state jurisdictions in line with the ECHR as a whole. Article 8 (prima facie right to the protection of person information) and Article 10 ( right to the freedom of expression and the public's right to receive information) are especially important.


Privacy and Legal Issues in Cloud Computing 4th Floor. K 564 .C6 P758 2015

Organized as a series of essays, this book begins by introducing cloud computing and the data and security issues associated with the service. It then moves on to questions over cross-border data transmission, jurisdictional and privacy issues. Diving deeper into these topics, essays concentrate on the ownership of the information in the cloud and how the information may be mined. Of particular concern is healthcare information stored in the could.

Emerging Challenges In Privacy Law : comparative perspectives 4th Floor. KJE7975 .S86 2014

Another collection of essays, the authors discuss privacy challenges through the perspective of multiple jurisdictions. Although mostly from a Western viewpoint (perspectives include the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand) the book summarizes international privacy law issues ranging from data protection to surveillance in public places and on young people.

Further Reading on Data Protection

Notable Cases

Case C‑131/12 Right to Be Forgotten

A Spanish citizen lodged a complaint with the National Data Protection Agency claiming a newspaper and Google infringed on his right to privacy by producing search results of a previous legal case that had been resolved. The Spanish court referred the case to the Court of Justice of the EU. A summary of the decision decision can be found here.


Center for Democracy & Technology

Links from the "Global Internet Policy" section lead to news items along with documents of interest relating to the topic.

Privacy International

Provides reports on state surveillance around the world, updated bi-annually. Currently there are reports for 13 countries ( Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, The Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uganda.) As well as state surveillance, Privacy International also submits reports to the United Nations on topics varying from gender and surveillance to regional surveillance where a country report may not be available.

BNA's Privacy Law Watch

A subscription database available to current Columbia law students and faculty, BNA's Privacy Law Watch provides information about federal, state, and international developments affecting the privacy and accessibility of information about individuals.

Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property and Global Guides

While the name is a little misleading, this section of Practical Law focuses on the data protection regulations of countries. Each country listed has a profile that lists the major regulations regarding data protection, who administers the regulations, special rules, exemptions, etc. Most of the country profiles have been updated within the past year (most since November, 2015) with a minority not having been updated since 2012. The country comparison tool makes it easy to differentiate regulations between jurisdictions.

Privacy Exchange- Not Current (Last news post: 2004)

Despite not being updated, the site still hosts reports on privacy, personal data, and access to information up to 2003. The legal library may be a good starting point for summaries of data protection laws, and the International department contains both analysis of the laws impacting trans-border data flow, and the actual experiences of companies transferring data under these laws


This important aspect of the international internet law may be the most sparse. Countries are hesitant to define criminal activities on the web in part because it is still unclear what a cybercrime is, but also in part because states cannot agree on uniform traditional crimes. This uncertainty means there are very few internet wide treaties addressing cybercrimes or procedural aspects of policing cybercrime.

The issue of how to define a cybercrime is complicated by the variations of the form of the crime and who the intended target is. The term "cybercrime" may be broad enough to encompass sub-crimes of personal cybercrime (crimes committed against a person), cyber terrorism (crimes committed against a state), and cyberwar (an attack by a nation-state against another nation-state for the purpose of causing disruption or damage). However, other proposed definitions to "cybercrime" state that it is a crime against computers and networks alone. This portion of the research guide will take the stance that most attacks on the internet are cybercrimes and list sources that may include personal attacks as well as attacks on nation-states.

For research purposes, try to maintain and follow one meaning of cybercrime. The lines can often be blurry as scholars and legislators use the term in many ways.


Convention on Cybercrime

The Convention on Cybercrime is the first and only multilateral treaty to address computer-related crime and evidence gathering. The Convention entered into force in July, 2004. It imposes three necessary obligations:
  • enact legislation criminalizing certain conduct related to computer systems;
  • create investigative procedures and ensure their availability to domestic law enforcement authorities to investigate cybercrime offenses, including procedures to obtain electronic evidence in all of its forms; and,
  • create a regime of broad international cooperation, including assistance in extradition of fugitives sought for crimes identified under the Convention


Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare 4th Floor. KZ6718 .T35 2013

Also available in a digital version from NATO, the Tallinn Manual Process is a study on how international law applies to cyber conflicts and cyber warfare. Written by a group of experts at the request of the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), the focus of the Manual is on the most disruptive and destructive cyber operations, those that qualify as ‘armed attacks,' therefore allowing states to respond in self-defense, and those taking place during armed conflict.

Principles of Cybercrime 4th Floor. K5215 .C58 2010

This book analyzes crimes committed on the internet from the perspectives of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Each chapter begins with a background of the offense type and goes on to discuss the legislative environment of each jurisdiction. The books covers everything from computer offenses, such as impairment of data and misuse of devices, to more traditional offenses that have taken online forms, such as fraud and cyberstalking.

Cybercrime: the investigation, prosecution and defense of a computer-related crime 4th Floor. KF390.5 .C6 C924 2011

Written by Professor Ralph Clifford, the book primarily focuses on the state of U.S. cybercrime law. The last chapter turns the reader's attention to international cybercrime developments, including the Convention on Cybercrime, and how U.S. legislation interacts with developing international cybercrime policies.

Cyberwar : law and ethics for virtual conflicts 4th Floor. KZ6718 .C93 2015

Also available online here, Ohlin, Govern, and Finklestein's book addresses ethical and legal issues surrounding cyberwarfare by considering whether the Laws of Armed Conflict apply to cyberspace. With deep analysis of the definition of cyberwar, the role of different state and non-state actors in cyber-conflict, and discussions of how traditional laws of war may or may not be suited for a digital age, the authors lead the reader step-by-step to understanding the technological battlefront. Often noting that some cyber activities do not have simple analogies of legal principles, the book does a good job in breaking down technical points and explaining unique situations.


NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE)

The CCDCOE is a NATO research and policy development center focused on cyber security. The site is full of useful features, including a cyber definitions section, INCYDER (a tool that focuses on the legal and policy documents adopted by international organisations active in cyber security), and publications on International Cyber Norms: Legal, Policy and Industry Perspectives.
The CCDCOE also lists national cyber security policies, primarily focused on NATO member states, that include national security and defense strategies that address cyber, national cyber/information security strategies, and relevant legal acts.

United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)

While the primary focus of the UNODA is nuclear disarmament, issues affecting disarmament, such as cyber security, are also researched and discussed as prongs of disarmament. The Information Security arm of UNODA notes the role of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in acts by non-state actors.

Commercial Law on the Internet


Community Framework for Electronic Signatures 1999/93/EC

In order to increase consumer confidence and regulate trade on the internet, the European Parliament and European Council passed the Directive on the Community Framework for Electronic Signatures.

United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts

UNCITRAL has been active in formulating uniform legislative standards for the use of electronic communications in trade since the 1980s. A first result of such work was the adoption of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce, 1996 (MLEC), followed by the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures (MLES), 2001. However, as model laws may be enacted with variations in the different jurisdictions, a stronger, more predictable regulation was needed.


OECD Committee on Consumer Policy (CCP)

The OECD CCP aims to develop policies and best practices for consumer protection online. Through its Consumers in the Digital Economy Page, one can find resources related to online identity theft, digital content, mobile accessibility and payments, and copyright and digital rights management. On 24 March 2016, the OECD revised its Recommendation on Consumer Protection for Ecommerce, modernizing its approach to fair business practices, information disclosures, payment protections, unsafe products, dispute resolution, enforcement, and education.

Bloomberg’s Electronic Commerce & Law Report

As part of the Bloomberg subscription database available to current Columbia law students and faculty, this report is regularly updated and covers such topics as digital communications content, transactions, and infrastructure as well as economic trends and developments in the law.


Under the Electronic Commerce working group, UNCITRAL has grouped together its publications, along with links to bibliographies of its work, treaties, and model laws.

ICC Commission on the Digital Economy

The ICC Commission on the Digital Economy develops policy positions and practical tools for the internet and information communications technology on behalf of users, providers, and operators of information technology. Working with other regulatory groups such as the OECD, and ICANN, this commission takes on many of the same issues. The commission oversees research and policy development in emerging technologies, cyber security, data authorization, data protection and privacy, eBusiness, internet governance, and domain names and identifiers. Separate sub-pages for Internet and Telecommunications, Privacy and Personal Data Protection, and Cyber Security make the website easy to navigate and find necessary documents.

Intellectual Property


Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

The Berne Convention enforces a requirement that countries recognize copyrights held by the citizens of all other signatory countries. The convention relies on the concept that a work does not have to be formally registered in every jurisdiction but becomes copyrighted in jurisdictions once the work is introduced to it. The means of redress for the safeguarding of rights shall be governed by the legislation of the country where protection is claimed.

Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy

This mandatory process governs disputes over registration of domain names.

Madrid Agreement and Protocol

The Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, now known at the Madrid Protocol, allows one-stop registration in multiple countries. To register a trademark through this process, an application noting that the trademark has been granted in the office of origin is required. An international mark, correctly registered, may then be used as a registered trademark in each of the countries designated by the applicant.

Notable Cases

Universal Music Australia v. Sharman License Holdings

An Australian court found that even though the Sharman p2p (peer-to-peer) service did not host any content on its network, the fact that many of its users were Australian led the court to conclude the service engaged in a significant amount of contact; thus purposeful availment in its jurisdiction.

Vereniging Buma and Stichting Stemra v. Kazaa B.V.

Because Kazaa did not have a physical footprint in the Netherlands and the company was not actually storing any illegal material, the court found the company outside of its jurisdiction, despite the number of users within the state borders.


World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

WIPO does not have a specific body, committee, or policy forum that deals with IP and the internet, but many treaties and agreements incorporate IP, including trademark, inventions, and copyright, limitations and expectations into the texts. The database of IP laws and treaties (here) is an excellent place to find and research international documents relating to IP.

Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL)

The Electronic Information System for International Law, or EISIL, is a gateway for international law research on the internet. Created by the American Society of International Law, its purpose is to provide access to high quality versions of primary law, authoritative web sites, and helpful aids to researching international law. EISIL’s information is divided into 14 topics and multiple subtopics, including IP rights.

Human Rights and Free Speech

Under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to "receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." The internet is a newer media that promotes freedom of information and expression of free speech. The idea that the internet is a fundamental human right is only beginning to be developed.

One of the more notable instances of this discussion was the debate over LOI n° 2009-1311 du 28 Octobre 2009 relative à la protection pénale de la propriété littéraire et artistique sur internet. Commonly referred to as the HADOPI law, the most controversial of the many deterrents to prevent the illegally sharing copyrighted material, was the suspension of internet services. This part was revoked in on 8 July 2013 by the French Government because that penalty was considered to be disproportionate and a breach of fundamental civil rights.


International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights, right to due process, and right to a fair trial.
  • Article 17 mandates the right of privacy.
  • Article 19 mandates freedom of expression.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as General Assembly resolution 217 A representing a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.


The future of individuals in international law: lessons from international internet law 4th Floor. KZ3920 .K48 2013

The author of this book focuses on the development of traditional international law and the role of the individual's relationship to states. He suggests that the organic rules followed by internet users enhance an individual's importance and guide how future non-cyber law may be developed. The book provides detailed explanations of internet governance and the human functions and importance of the rights of the individual on the computer network.

Notable Cases

Ligue contre le racisme et l'antisémitisme complained that Yahoo! were allowing its online auction service to be used for the sale of memorabilia from the Nazi period, contrary to Article R645-1 of the French Criminal Code (Code pénal (French)).The court ruled that there were sufficient links with France to give it full jurisdiction to hear the complaint. In particular:
  • the auctions of Nazi memorabilia were open to bidders from any country, including France;
  • the display of such objects, and the viewing of such objects in France, caused a public nuisance and was forbidden under French criminal law;
  • Yahoo! Inc. was aware that French residents used its auction site, as it displayed French-language advertisements on its pages when they were accessed from computers in France.


Council of Europe's Human Rights for Internet Users

The guide provides information about existing human rights for internet users to help them understand and exercise their rights when, considering their rights and freedoms have been adversely affected, they communicate with and seek effective recourse from key internet actors and government agencies. This guide is based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other Council of Europe conventions and instruments that deal with various aspects of human rights protection.

Open Net Initiative

The Open Net Initiative's goal is to investigate, expose and analyze internet filtering and surveillance practices. The country profiles give a quick overview of the status of web filtering of political, social, internet tools, and security as well as transparency about filtering. The profiles are built from a number of sources, each of which is footnoted, making it easier to expand research.

Privacy and Human Rights

Similar to Privacy Exchange above, Privacy and Human Rights does not seem to have been updated since the mid-to-late '90s. However, the information on the site is still useful as background and introductory material for a look at privacy through a human rights lens. Each of the main links (Threats to Privacy, Defining Privacy, The Right to Privacy, and Technologies of Privacy Invasion) give a very detailed explanation of the issue with abundant references through footnotes. The discussion is strictly international in nature, referencing many sources from treaties to foreign cases. Also like Privacy Exchange, this site has country profiles. While it has more countries profiled, each of the profiles is basic, explaining the status of privacy laws in a country.

Human Rights Research Guide

For further human rights research, please see Columbia Law Library's Human Rights Research Guide.

Current Awareness

Politico's Cybersecurity

Like ZDNet below, Politico's cybersecurity subsection publishes news and analysis on policies influencing the technology and industry sectors. Politico, in general, has broader coverage of foreign and international issues. Pro tip: Staying up to date with recent developments is easy with a daily "Morning Cybersecurity" e-mail.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

A civil liberties organization focused wide ranging digital issues ranging from internet privacy to government transparency on internet related issues to battling proposals to turn internet intermediaries into copyright police. There are links to current pending cases that can be filtered to international only cases, text of relevant laws, and further resources presented in the articles posted.

BNA's World Communications Regulation Report

Major topic range from patentability of software and business methods to media law to telecommunications (which include cellphones).

BNA's Computer Technology Law Report

Major topic range from anti-trust to reverse engineering to defective hardware and software liability.

CYB3RCRIM3: Observations on technology, law and lawlessness

This blog by Professor Susan Brenner at the University of Dayton School of Law, covers cybercrime and cyberconflict mainly in the U.S. but with some coverage of the U.K. and Europe.


ZDNet is geared towards professionals in the technology and industry sectors and most of its coverage is U.S. centrist. Due to the expanse of the internet, a topic in the U.S. will likely have foreign and international impact. To stay abreast of developing news in particular areas, use the sitemap to find hot topics and blogs.

SSRN: Legal Scholarship Network (LSN)

Part of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), the Legal Scholarship Network provides access to the bleeding edge of analysis and theory of the law. Through the free posting and sharing of materials, including conference papers and pre-prints, LSN is an excellent database to find new, and often in depth, discussions of topics in the law.

Additional Resources


World Legal Information Institute: Cyberspace

The World LII category on cyberspace allows research of publicly available law, commentary, and theory of internet law around the globe. Helpful links to specific topics such as censorship, privacy, intellectual property, and internet governance give researchers more control in searching.


A subscription database available to current Columbia law students and faculty, Westlaw provides a number of sources on internet law, both U.S. and international. Browsing and searching Westlaw's International Materials Index makes it easy to find journals, practice materials, and news about international internet law.
Westlaw also provides access to Practical Law where you can access its Global Content and search for internet law sources.

Bloomberg Law

A subscription database available to current Columbia law students and faculty, Bloomberg provides a number of sources on internet law. Although primarily U.S. law, the Practice Center on Privacy and Data Security (which covers a fair number of international internet topics like internet governance, cybercrime, and consumer privacy) and BNA Law Reports cover a wide range of internet law topics.

Lexis Advance

A subscription database available to current Columbia law students and faculty, Lexis Advance provides a number of sources on international law.

Additional Research Guides

Georgetown's International Cyber Law Research Guide

Any of Georgetown's Research Guides are excellent starting points for discovering sources in an area of law. This International Cyber Law Guide is no exception. Packed with sources of treaties, journals, current awareness tools, and specific internet law topics, it's always good to get a different perspective and expand your research.

Cybercrime (Int'l & Foreign Legal Research)

A basic overview of sources for research in international cybercrime law.

National Defense University's Research Guide to Cybersecurity

This research guide is packed with links on cybersecurity information. From U.S. to foreign law, and policy analysis to journals, it is easy to get lost in this guide.

Miscellaneous Documents

U.S. White Paper on Management of Internet Names and Address

Proposed self-regulation as preferred governance of internet regulation.


  1. Henrik Spang-Hanssen, Public International Computer Network Law Issues 12 (2006)