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Research Projects

Breaking the Web

Breaking the Web: Data Localization vs. The Global Internet

A BRICS Internet, the Euro Cloud, the Iranian Internet. Governments across the world eager to increase control over the World Wide Web are tearing it apart. Iran seeks to develop an Internet free of Western influences or domestic dissent. The Australian government places restrictions on health data leaving the country. South Korea requires mapping data to be stored domestically. Vietnam insists on a local copy of all Vietnamese data. The nations of the world are erecting Schengen zones for data, undermining the possibility of global services. The last century’s non-tariff barriers to goods have reappeared as firewalls blocking international data flows.

Data localization requirements threaten the major new advances in information technology — not only cloud computing, but also the promise of big data and the Internet of Things. Equally important, data localization requirements undermine social, economic and civil rights by eroding the ability of consumers and businesses to benefit from access to both knowledge and international markets and by giving governments greater control over local information. Legitimate global anxieties over surveillance and security are justifying governmental measures that break apart the World Wide Web, without enhancing either privacy or security.

This research project was funded by a Google Research Award. Available for download at SSRN.

Free Speech Foundations of Cyberlaw

The Free Speech Foundations of Cyberlaw

Cyber-law is today’s speech law. When civic engagement is increasingly mediated online, the law regulating cyberspace becomes the law regulating speech. Yet, free speech texts pay little attention to the ways that cyber-law configures what has become the principal mechanism for exercising free speech rights today — communication online. Conversely, while many have long observed that the Internet enables speech, scholars have failed to recognize the role that the First Amendment played in shaping the law of cyberspace. A First Amendment-infused legal culture that prizes speech proved an ideal environment on which to build the speech platforms that make up Web 2.0. Free speech was Silicon Valley’s killer app.

Today’s speech law is being made in the major cyber-law disputes of the day. From the Stop Online Piracy Act, criminal copyright enforcement, and a plurilateral free trade treaty, to United Nations control of the Internet, the European Union’s proposed right to be forgotten, and the revelations of pervasive NSA surveillance, cyber-law controversies show that we are still seeking to translate free speech values into the Information Age. How we approach these disputes will determine the extent of government censorship, private third-party censorship and self-censorship. This article offers a framework for resolving cyber-law disputes, duly attendant to their speech implications.

This research project was funded by a Google Research Award. Available for download at SSRN.

Haiti Fieldwork

Haiti Project

The Haiti Project of the California International Law Center at King Hall and a CILC affiliate, the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic, endeavors to draw attention to the plight of Haitians in the wake of the catastrophic January 12, 2010, earthquake. Participants in the Haiti Project plan to report on the status of humanitarian parole, an emergency legal mechanism used in the past to bring needy persons temporarily into the United States. Clinic Lecturer Holly S. Cooper, along with attorneys from the San Francisco law firm of Reed Smith LLP and elsewhere, did the fieldwork for the report. Meeting with hundreds of stricken families while serving on humanitarian legal and medical delegations in Haiti, the attorneys identified many humanitarian parole candidates; in particular, persons who suffered gender-based violence or other serious harms, and who lack water, food, shelter, and other necessities. A number of parole applications already have been denied. The Haiti Project report – due to be released to commemorate the anniversary of the earthquake – will focus on the legal, social, and political implications of the refusal to use humanitarian parole to help victims of Haiti’s earthquake.

Darfur Report

Darfur Project

The California International Law Center is honored to have embarked on a Darfur Project as its inaugural partnership, undertaken with the 40-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. RFK’s 2007 Human Rights Laureate is Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Abdallah, a Darfuri physician who has been working to establish a framework for peace and reconciliation in that wartorn region of Sudan. In spring 2009 he gave a public address at King Hall and then worked with students in the International Human Rights & Transitional Justice course who were researching efforts around the world, such as truth commissions, perpetrator accountability, redress of victims, and rebuilding of society. (In the summer, he testified before the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. Senate.)

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Aiding their study was a host of distinguished guest speakers on critical topics: Professor David Biale, University of California, Davis Department of History, “Comparative Genocides”; Marci Hoffman, Associate Director and International & Foreign Law Librarian and Lecturer in Residence, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, “New Trends International Legal Research”; Professor Linda E. Carter, Professor of Law & Director, Institute for Development of Legal Infrastructure, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, “Justice and Reconciliation on Trial: Gacaca Proceedings in Rwanda”; Dr. Michael Kevane, Chair, Department of Economics, Santa Clara University, “Darfur”; Professor Beth Van Schaack, Santa Clara University School of Law, “Cambodia Documentation Project”; Harvey Weinstein, M.D., M.P.H., Clinical Professor at the School of Public Health and Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, “Victims and Transitional Justice”; and Gwen K. Young, Policy and Advocacy Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, “Human Rights & Humanitarian Response.” Collaboration continues.

Download the final report , released in March, 2011.