Extraterritorial Jurisdiction in the Space and Cybercommons

Vol. 8 No. 3

Melinda J. Brown is general counsel at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA, and is Draper’s legal and policy representative in its work with the Advanced Cyber Security Center, a cross-sector, public-private collaboration addressing the most critical cybersecurity challenges. Matthew J. Kleiman is corporate counsel at Draper and is the chair of the Space Law Committee of the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law.

Most countries don’t even have a legal framework that really governs cyber. It is such a new phenomenon in that regard so the legal systems—both domestic and international—have not kept pace with the technological advances we have seen.

—US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano1

Cyberspace operates without regard to national borders.2 In that respect, cyberspace joins the high seas, international airspace and outer space as a “global commons,” a domain that is beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any one nation and open to use by all nations.

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