WORKING PAPER • VOL. 4 • N° 11 • JULY 2018

The Microsoft Ireland case and the cyberspace sovereignty trilemma.

Post-territorial technologies and companies question territorial state sovereignty and regulatory state monopolies

by Paul De Hert and Johannes Thumfart

A final version of this paper has been published as Paul De Hert & Johannes Thumfart , ‘The Microsoft Ireland Case, The Cloud Act and the Cyberspace Sovereignty Trilemma. Post-Territorial Technologies and Companies Question Regulatory State Monopolies’, in Walter Hötzendorfer, Christof Tschohl & Franz Kummer (eds.), International Trends in Legal Informatics. Festschrift for Erich Schweighofer, Bern: Weblaw AG, 2020, 373-418. ISBN 978-3-96698-588-8


The Microsoft Ireland case brought before the Supreme Court in 2018 and dropped the very same year has attracted attention world-wide from policymakers and scholars. This contribution focusses on two important features of the case: the conflicting and often chaotic approaches to the notion of sovereignty of many of the players and the remarkable move of a private company to trigger regulation in a world where companies, technologies, data flows and governments transgress borders with growing acceptance of the inadequacy of older territorial comprehensions of the world order.



Keywords:  sovereignty, territoriality, cyberspace, Microsoft Ireland case, cyber sovereignty, Internet

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