Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht Logo Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht

Sie befinden sich hier: Forschung Forschung nach Rechtsgebieten Internationaler Menschenrechtsschutz, Minderheitenschutz The International Protection of the Private Sphere in Times of Digital Surveillance

The International Protection of the Private Sphere in Times of Digital Surveillance

This project is located in the broader context of the question of determining the applicability and the scope of the right to privacy (and related rights) in international law, under the heading of the internationally protected private sphere, in the particular context of international digital surveillance activities, originating both from states and corporations.
Against this backdrop, three issues will be dealt with in this dissertation. Firstly, the preliminary step is to identify and systematize a relevant set of human rights that are built around the right to privacy (as a rights-enabler) and can be affected by international digital surveillance measures. A pressing question is whether an internationally protected private sphere exists that could be anchored in international human rights law and other relevant instruments at the international level. This set of principles and standards incorporates rights pertaining to international human rights law, the Internet governance principles, instruments of regulation of the digital environment as well as extraterritorially applied domestic human rights. An illustration of the latter is the application of EU data protection regulations to corporations incorporated in the USA or India, having substantial activities within Europe. Finally, the controversy surrounding the question of the adaptation of human rights to the digital environment will be treated by taking into account mechanisms of public but also private law (of a particular importance for the digital environment). 
The second research question concerns the problem of extraterritorial application of human rights to international digital surveillance activities that affect individuals located outside of the territory where the surveillance activities stem from.
The third focus lies on the question of how to legally assess the involvement of both public (state actors) and private actors (mainly corporations, but also individuals) in international digital surveillance practices. This will be done from the viewpoint of their (potential) responsibility and accountability, at the international level, for violations of human rights norms. This part of the dissertation will draw on methods and findings derived from the “principles of shared responsibility” (as mainly developed within the SHARES project of the University of Amsterdam).

PhD candidate

Milan Tahraoui

Ph.D. candidate both at Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University and Freie Universität Berlin


Anne Peters

Evelyne Lagrange (Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University)