December 18, 2014
By SafeGov Contributor, Michael Chertoff.
If we don’t figure out a new way of resolving legal conflicts, the universal Web as we know it may soon be Balkanized. Global companies will be subject to competing and inconsistent legal demands—one country may require disclosure of information that another country prohibits from being disclosed. The inevitable result will be that consumers suffer diminished access to the network overall. Decisions companies make about the location of their servers and hardware will be driven by legal gamesmanship rather than by technological or infrastructure considerations.
The current free-for-all of competing nations needs to be replaced with an agreed-upon international system for newly designed choice-of-law rules for data in the Internet cloud. Such rules determine which country’s law governs in a dispute, as when we try to decide whose law governs a contract for the sale of goods. We need to harmonize existing rules in a framework of law for the cyber age.
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Michael Chertoff served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009. In that capacity, he led the United States in blocking would-be terrorists from crossing our borders or implementing their plans if they were already in the country. At Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff provides high-level strategic counsel to corporate and government leaders on a broad range of security issues, from risk identification and prevention to preparedness, response and recovery.safegoveu