Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law Logo Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

You are here: Research Archive The Transnational Protection of the Private Sphere in Times of Digital Surveillance: Beyond "International Paranoia Law"?

The Transnational Protection of the Private Sphere in Times of Digital Surveillance: Beyond "International Paranoia Law"?

About the Project:

The Ph.D. project focuses on the protection of the informational private sphere against public and private data surveillance practices on the international plane. As most interactions are increasingly digitised, control over the data of individuals is held by States authorities and some dominant corporations. Public and private dimensions of data surveillance are intertwined.

The informational private sphere is legally protected both at the international and domestic levels, covering at its core privacy and data protection rights, but also as a precondition for protecting rights such as freedom of expression and opinion or freedom of assembly. However, the level of protection varies across jurisdictions, and private corporations are regulated only by those few states which are able to effectively project their regulations and standards beyond their national boundaries. 

Three main research questions guide this Ph.D. project. First, is it, as a matter of principle, possible under positive international law to protect aspects of individuals’ informational private sphere against the background of the dematerialisation and deterritorialisation of power brought about by digital technologies? Secondly, analytically: How can protection of the informational private sphere be organised at the international level, given the involvement of both public and private actors in data surveillance? Thirdly, the observation that currently, the transnational protection of the private sphere is unevenly protected gives rise to a normative question: What factors could make the protection more inclusive so that persons or groups of persons are no longer completely excluded from any protection because of their nationality or place or residence? And how can we avoid that the transnational modes of protection merely reflect or copy the particular social, cultural, and political features of a few dominant national legal systems? 

Given the multiplication of public-private forms of surveillance based on data that are exchanged internationally, it becomes increasingly important to ensure an effective legal protection of the informational private sphere on the international plane.


PhD candidate

Milan Tahraoui

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

Supervisors

Anne Peters

Evelyne Lagrange (Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University)