IECL Lunchtime Seminar: "Is data a thing or not?" and "Network privatisation trends and access to energy in Europe"

Event date
30 November 2023
Event time
12:00 - 13:30
Oxford week
MT 8
Faculty Members
Members of the University
Postgraduate Students
IECL teaching room

Professor Pål Wrange
Dr Emmanuelle Santoire



Is data a thing or not? A comparison of international legal discussions in international trade law and international humanitarian law

Professor Pål Wrange - Stockholm University

Today it is a commonplace to say that data is ”the new oil” and that power over data is a major geoeconomic and geopolitical asset. This project compares two legal fields that share some common assumptions but are very far apart, namely international humanitarian law (IHL; the law of war) and international trade law. Both of these fields assume that goods/objects have a value. IHL protects civilian goods from attacks, while international trade law protects and regulates the trade in goods. These laws now have had to grapple with digitalisation. Many tangible objects are of value mainly due to the intangible content that is stored on them, such as medical records, novels, video recordings, computer programmes, etc. How should one treat values when the intangible content is separable from the tangible storage, such as when medical records can be destroyed in virtual cyber attacks or when films can be transferred over the Internet? From the IHL perspective, a moot question is whether the protection of civilian objects also protects computer code and computer data from cyber attacks. In the WTO and other international trade fora, states have not been able to agree on whether trade in data and “digital objects” constitutes trade in goods (the GATT agreement) or in services (the complementing but more fragmented GATS agreement). While these two legal and policy areas are very different, they have overlapping basic concepts, namely “objects” and “goods” (or products) and the ontological question is the same, namely whether “objects” and “goods” must be tangible or not.

Network privatisation trends and access to energy in Europe: A comparable geo-legal perspective

Dr Emmanuelle Santoire - University of Pau and the Adour Region 

Found within

Comparative Law