Skip to main content

Global Views on Internet Jurisdiction and Trans-border Access

  • Chapter
  • 3320 Accesses

Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (ISDP,volume 24)


This paper offers insights and perspectives on the jurisdiction of law enforcement authorities (LEAs) under international law and reviews current approaches to the territoriality principle and trans-border access to data for LEAs to conduct criminal investigations; controversial topics that are currently in the center of discussions, both at the international and national level. The views and perspectives offered in this paper seek to contribute to the international debate on cross-border access to data by LEAs and how the principles on internet jurisdiction should evolve in order to turn the administration of the criminal justice system more efficient, dynamic and compliant with the needs to obtain and secure evidence while respecting data protection safeguards.


  • Internet jurisdiction
  • Cross-border access
  • Extraterritoriality
  • Mutual legal assistance
  • International law
  • Data protection

Anna-Maria Osula is a Researcher at NATO CCD COE Law & Policy Branch. This contribution contains the opinion of the respective author only, and does not necessarily reflect the policy or the opinion of NATO CCD COE, NATO or any agency or any government.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD   129.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD   169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Learn about institutional subscriptions


  1. 1.

    Velasco, Cristos. La Jurisdicción y Competencia sobre Delitos Cometidos a través de Sistemas de Cómputo e Internet (Tirant lo Blanch 2012), 207–209. For a perspective on the classification and types of jurisdiction under public international law, see pp. 209–215.

  2. 2.

    For a perspective of internet Jurisdiction in the context of internet Governance, see: Kurbalija, Jovan. Internet Governance (Diplo Foundation 2014), Section 3 Jurisdiction, pp. 92–96.

  3. 3.

    For instance in the area of internet content and freedom of speech, see: Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le Racisme et l’antisemitisme (LICRA) 433 F.3d 1199 (9th Cir. 2006) and in the area of internet defamation Down Jones & Company Inc v. Gutnick, Joseph [2002] HCA 56 10 December 2002, full text of the High Court of Australia available at:

  4. 4.

    For national perspectives on cybercrime jurisdiction, see: Bert-Jaap Koops and Susan W. Brenner. Cybercrime and Jurisdiction. A Global Survey (Asser Press 2006). For a perspective on cyberspace jurisdiction under public international law, see: Henrik Spang-Hansen. Cyberspace and International Law on Jurisdiction (DJOF Publishing 2004).

  5. 5.

    See for instance the Tor network

  6. 6.

    The video of this session is available at:

  7. 7.

    Malcolm Shaw International Law (5th edition Cambridge University Press 2003) 579–584.

  8. 8.

    Uta Kohl Jurisdiction and the Internet (Cambridge University Press 2007) 96–102.

  9. 9.

    See Article 15 of the Convention on Cybercrime.

  10. 10.

    S.S. Lotus, Fr. v. Turk., 1927 P.C.I.J. (ser. A) No. 10, at 4 (Decision No. 9), 45 (Permanent Court of International Justice 1927).

  11. 11.

    For a more detailed analysis of the Lotus Case, see: Paul de Hert, “Cybercrime and Jurisdiction in Belgium and the Netherlands. Lotus in Cyberspace-Whose Sovereignty is at Stake?” in Cybercrime Jurisdiction. A Global Survey. Edited by Bert-Jaap Koops and Susan W. Brenner, pp. 97–98.

  12. 12.

    Susan Brenner Cybercrime and the Law (North Eastern University Press 2012) 171–188.

  13. 13.

    UNODC, Comprehensive Study on Cybercrime, February 2013. <>.

  14. 14.

    Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY), The mutual legal assistance provisions of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. Adopted by the T-CY at its 12th Plenary (2–3 December 2014) e.g. p 123. <>.

  15. 15.

    For further views on Mutual Legal Assistance and cooperation provisions in international and regional cybercrime instruments, see UNODC, Comprehensive Study on Cybercrime, Op. cit. 13. pp. 197–208.

  16. 16.

    For a comprehensive overview, see ibid.

  17. 17.

    For views on cloud computing and cybercrime jurisdiction see: Cristos Velasco. Jurisdictional Aspects of Cloud Computing (Paper presented at the Octopus 2009 Conference on Cooperation against Cybercrime of the Council of Europe February 2009) available at and Council of Europe. Cloud Computing and cybercrime investigations: Territoriality vs. the power of disposal? (Council of Europe 31 August 2010), available at:

  18. 18.

    This paper will not discuss the details of domestic powers and different categories of communications data.

  19. 19.

    For a good overview, see Ian Walden, Accessing Data in the Cloud: The Long Arm of the Law Enforcement Agent (Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network, 14 November 2011) <>.

  20. 20.

    The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (CETS 185) is available at:

  21. 21.

    Ibid. pp 128–134.

  22. 22.

    See Joint Investigative Teams, EUROPOL, <>.

  23. 23.

    Supra Footnote 29, p. 9.

  24. 24.

    Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) Ad hoc Subgroup on Transborder Access and Jurisdiction Council of Europe, ‘T-CY Guidance Note #3: Transborder Access to Data (Article 32)’ (December 2013) <>.

  25. 25.

    Council or Europe, (Draft) elements of an Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime regarding transborder access to data. Proposal prepared by the Ad hoc Subgroup on Transborder Access (9 April 2013) <>.

  26. 26.

    Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY), Transborder access to data and jurisdiction: Options for further action by the T-CY. Report prepared by the Ad hoc Subgroup on Transborder Access on Jurisdiction. Adopted by the 12th Plenary of the TC-Y (2–3 December 2014) <>.

  27. 27.

    See for example and P. de Hert, M. Kopcheva, “International Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Law Made Redundnant” (2011) 27 Computer Law & Security Review 291–297.

  28. 28.

    For a synthesis of the scope of ECPA, see the website of the United states Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, available at:

  29. 29.

    Supreme Court, September 4th, 2012, A.R. P.11.1906.N/2.

  30. 30.

    There was also an issue as to whether Yahoo was an electronic communication service provider, but this is not relevant for purposes of this paper.

  31. 31.

    As of the time of the publication of this paper, the final judgment of the Court of Appeals of Antwerp is not final and it is still pending to be enforced against Yahoo in Belgium.

  32. 32.

    15 FSupp 3d 466 (S.D.N.Y 2014).

  33. 33.

    18 U.S.C. §§2701–2712.

  34. 34.

    15 FSupp 3d 466, 477 (S.D.N.Y 2014).

  35. 35.

    15 FSupp 3d 466, 472 (S.D.N.Y 2014).

  36. 36.

    Rule 41 Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

  37. 37.

    15 FSupp 3d 466, 471 (S.D.N.Y 2014); see also Case Review in 128 Harv. L.Rev 1019.

  38. 38.

    See: Brief for Appellant in the Matter of a Warrant to Search a Certain E-mail Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corporation on Appeal from the United states District Court for the Southern District of New York, (14-2985-cv December 18, 2014), available at:

  39. 39.

  40. 40.

    See: The Guardian. “Academics: UK ‘Drip’ data law changes are ‘serious expansion of surveillance” (15 July 2014) available at:

  41. 41.

    Ibid. See also Response by the Interception of Communications Commissioner Office (24 July 2014), available at:

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Cristos Velasco .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Velasco, C., Hörnle, J., Osula, AM. (2016). Global Views on Internet Jurisdiction and Trans-border Access. In: Gutwirth, S., Leenes, R., De Hert, P. (eds) Data Protection on the Move. Law, Governance and Technology Series(), vol 24. Springer, Dordrecht.

Download citation