The Impact of the Internet on International Law:
Nomos without Earth?
GIAN PAOLO MAR IA RUOTOLO ∗
SUMM ARY:1. International Law and the Internet: An Heuristic Approach – 2. The
Way Internet Has Inﬂuenced Production, Application and Enforcement Phases of In-
ternational Law – 3. The Actors of International Legal Order after the Web – 4.
International Law and Domestic Legal Orders: The Persuasive Approach and the Cir-
culation of Information – 5. Public Int ernational Law for the Net: Nomos without
Earth? Concluding Remarks
1. INT ERNAT ION AL LAW AND THE IN TER NET: ANHE URI STI C
The relationship between international legal order and the Internet is a
bilateral one: on the one hand, in fact, the ﬁrst is called to govern both
the web as an infrastructure and human behaviors that take place there, on
the other hand the same legal order is undergoing changes as a result of the
peculiar dissemination of information made by its operators (government
ofﬁcials, NGOs, academics, lawyers) through the Net itself.
It is not a new process, in its basic elements: technological progress has al-
ways informed legal systems, including the international one. For examples
one may think of the legal framework negotiated to regulate the conduct of
States in outer space, the use of the geostationary orbit, civil aviation, nu-
clear energy, scientiﬁc research on the high seas. However, while in all these
cases the “technical” peculiarities of the regulated objects inﬂuenced only the
content of the adopted rules, in the case of the web the inﬂuence seems to
have been extended not only to the substantive provisions in certain sectors,
particularly sensitive to its advent, but evenin the way the international legal
system as a whole works.
The aim of this paper is to try and understand how the massive spread
of the Internet – which certainly had immeasurable social, economic and
cultural consequences – has also had an impact on the systematic way the
international legal system – taken as a whole – works and, in particular, on
the way the same exercises its main functions.
∗PhD in International Law, University of Naples “Federico II”. Tenured researcher in
International Law in the Department of Law of the University of Foggia. Adjunct Professor
of Private International Law,International Trade Law and European Union Law in the same
University,where he also teaches at the School of specialization in the legal professions.
“Informatica e diritto”, Vol. XXII, 2013, n. 2, pp. 7-18
XXXIX annata – Seconda Serie - Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, Napoli