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Georgetown Law Library

International Cyberspace Law Research Guide

This guide covers resources on cyberspace law where issues encompass the Internet, cybercrime, privacy and ecommerce. Cyberspace law can incorporate aspects of comparative, international and foreign law

Treaties and International Agreements on Privacy & Data Protection

United Nations Human Rights Instruments

Each of the United Nations instruments listed below includes a provision recognizing the right to privacy.

Council of Europe Treaties

The Council of Europe is one of several regional organizations established in the aftermath of World War II.  It is separate and distinct from the European Union and has a much larger membership than the EU.  The Council's core mission is the protection of human rights, but it also works to promote democracy, the rule of law, and uniform standards.  Much of the Council's work is accomplished through the drafting of treaties.

  • Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950)
    Also known as the European Convention on Human Rights.  Article 8 of the Convention recognizes the right to privacy.  The European Court of Human Rights (see below) is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Convention. 
  • Convention for Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (1981)
    The Convention, which entered into force in 1985, is the first legal binding international instrument on data protection.  It is open to signature by countries that are not members of the Council of Europe.
  • Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, Regarding Supervisory Authorities and Transborder Data Flows (2001)
    The additional protocol provides for the establishment of national data protection authorities to monitor compliance with laws adopted pursuant to the original Convention and regulates the transmission of data across national boundaries.

European Court of Human Rights Case Law

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is responsible for ensuring that the state parties to the European Convention on Human Rights comply with their obligations under the Convention, including Article 8, which recognizes the right to privacy.  Listed below are the most convenient access points to the Court's jurisprudence on the right to privacy.

  • ECHR Fact Sheet on Personal Data Protection
    This fact sheet contains summaries of judgments issued by the ECHR in dozens of cases involving data protection and the right to privacy.  It also provides links to the full text of each judgment.
     
  • ECHR Fact Sheet on New Technologies
    This fact sheet contains summaries of judgments issued by the ECHR in dozens of cases involving new technologies and the right to privacy.  It also provides links to the full text of each judgment.
     
  • HUDOC Case Law Database
    Use this free database of ECHR case law to search by keyword for judgments issued in cases involving the right to privacy with respect to data protection and/or the use of emerging technologies.