Cyberspace and Jurisdiction

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Modern technology breakthroughs, such as the internet via the World Wide Web (WWW), have changed people's daily activities such as communication and corporate operations (Mills, 2014). The growing integration of the internet into people's lives endangers them due to the ease with which personal space can be violated. The constant breach of personal spaces by the media nowadays has resulted in the introduction of personal jurisdiction legislation. As a result, understanding the law's practicality necessitates outlining the numerous personal jurisdictional issues, remedies brought about by the internet, and critical modifications increasing the law's utility.

Jurisdiction is the power vested by the law of a country to determine which court is most appropriate to determine a specific case. On the other hand, Cyberspace is a virtual world of linked computers that have no territorial boundaries. Jurisdictions are divided into three distinct categories which are

Pecuniary jurisdiction

Subject matter jurisdiction

Territorial matter jurisdiction

Personal Jurisdiction

Personal jurisdiction is the legal authority and power of a court to pass judgment on the legal rights of parties (Osula, 2015). This law has been developed by the courts over time to balance the contending interests of the stakeholders of the litigation process. Courts often use a test referred to as a minimum contacts test to determine the type of personal jurisdiction to apply. There are two types of personal jurisdiction;

General jurisdiction

Specific jurisdiction

Application of the Laws of Personal Jurisdiction

Personal Jurisdiction Based on Internet Contacts

The law of personal jurisdiction relates to the different assumptions made regarding an individual’s personal contacts. These assumptions have been affected over time by the advent of the internet.

Personal Jurisdiction, Multimedia, and Broadcasting

United States law gives the state the power to exercise personal jurisdiction over an individual charged with publishing libelous information (Rustad, 2016). Notably, the publishing of libelous data about an occupant of a certain state especially in cases where the material used targets this resident’s economic activity.

Article 22 of the COE Convention on Cybercrime

This law governs the circumstances under which mutual assistance conferred to different parties is the greatest possible in cases that involve cyber crimes (Miller, Jentz & Miller, 2012). Other cases could include the collection of electronic evidence as proof of a crime.

Controlling Law and International Cooperation

Law enforcement personnel have started to establish forms of cross-jurisdictional collaboration to help them curb the threats posed by cyber crime (Rustad, 2016). As such, they have developed the necessary expertise and infrastructure needed to enhance security due to the advent of the internet.

Cyber terrorism and Jurisdictions

Cyber terrorism is a crime that transcends State boundaries (Marano, Rokas & Kochenburger, 2016). Many international organizations have put in place different measures to fight against the vice. Local legislations like personal jurisdiction are not enough to fight cyber crime due to the presence of jurisdictional disputes going past countries boundaries. In this way, international laws come into play when a crime goes past national boundaries.


The courts have perpetually used traditional tests like the international minimum contact test to determine personal jurisdiction over a litigant with multiple nationalities. Nonetheless, these tests have been rendered outdated in the wake of internet utility. The internet’s unique aspects such as the ability of users to maintain anonymity and ease of long distance interaction have complicated the traditional methods of personal jurisdiction analysis. However, determining cyberspace jurisdiction insists on the application of the existing rules.


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Marano, P., Rokas, I., & Kochenburger, P. (2016). The "dematerialized" insurance: Distance selling and cyber risks from an international perspective. Switzerland: Springer.

Miller, R. L. R., Jentz, G. A., & Miller, R. L. R. (2012). Business law today: Comprehensive Edition: Text & Cases: E-commerce, legal, ethical, and global environment. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Mills, A. (2014). Rethinking Jurisdiction in International Law. The British Year Book of International Law, 84(1), 187.

Osula, A. M. (2015). Mutual Legal Assistance & Other Mechanisms for Accessing Extraterritorially Located Data. Masaryk UJL & Tech., 9, 43.

Rustad, M. (2016). Global Internet law in a nutshell. St. Paul, MN: West Academic Publishing.

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May 24, 2023
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