The transtlantic conference and summer school on Global Online Freedom and Corporate Responsibility is organized by the Centre for Law and IT and the Honours College of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands in cooperation with the George Washington University, Washington D.C., USA. The conference will take place in Washington DC, USA (May 10th) and Brussels, EU (May 14th).
Program CommitteeThe program committee comprises both scholars (see chairs) and a multidisciplinary group of 25 honoursstudents of the University of Groningen. The honoursstudents attend the conference and organize the conference workshops as part of a Washington Brusels summer school.
The Washington-Brussels transatlantic conference and summer school 2012 focuses on Global Online Freedom and Corporate Responsibility. In our globalizing world corporations often act outside their original jurisdiction. In many of these cases the corporations cannot be held liable for violations of the laws of their original jurisdiction.
The Internet presently comprises more than a quarter of a billion websites and its global number of users (citizens and governments, consumers and corpo¬ra¬tions) exceeds the two billion mark. The Internet is rapidly becoming the world’s main communication medium and trade platform. There are ample examples of corporations that accommodate (to) violation of the freedom of expression on the Internet. Google’s cooperation with Internet censorship in China and Nokia Siemens Network’s cooperation with Internet surveillance in Iran are recent examples. There is a growing opposition against the lack of liability in the original jurisdictions of these corporations. In the U.S. this has (inter alia) led to the introduction of the Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA) in the House of Representatives (6 April 2011 112th Congress, 1st session H.R. 1389) and a coming review of the Alien Tort Statute (28 U.S.C. § 1350, ATS) by the Supreme Court in a case of Nigerian villagers against Shell (Kiobel et al v. Shell Petroleum, N.V., et al). The GOFA initiative inspired Members of European Parliament to come up with a similar bill. Also the European Parliament has repeatedly called for an EU solution to this problem, recently in a resolution of 10 February 2010 on Iran (criticizing Nokia Siemens Networks and calling the European Commission and Council to take action). However, as in the US, the final adaption of a regulatory framework on Global Online Freedom and Corporate Responsibility has proven to be very difficult.
The transatlantic conference and summer school aims to engage politicians, corporations, scholars and honours students from both sides of the Atlantic in the debate surrounding this complex question. The first part of the conference will take place in Washington, the second part in Brussels.