Janwillem graduated in law, having studied at the Universities of Hamburg and Paris (Sorbonne). He is currently lecturer in law and research assistant at the Chair for European and Public International Law of the University of Hamburg (Prof. Kotzur), focussing on public international law. He designed and was responsible for the project “Who controls the internet?” at the Hamburg-Open-Online-University.
His Ph.D. project deals with Internet governance and international law with the working title “The Internet as common heritage of humankind”. Essentially his idea is to analyse the concept of the common heritage of humankind, that is used in public international law for the transnational spaces of the deep sea and outer space, and probe its applicability to the Internet. To condense the idea into a more concrete, yet hypothetical question: if the States of this world were to conclude an Internet Treaty or Charter, could they therein proclaim the Internet to be the common heritage of humankind and, if so, what would that entail?
Challenges in this regard are mainly the divergence between natural space and the man-made Internet and more importantly the perspective of developing hybrid forms of transnational, multi-stakeholder governance-systems like in ICANN and the governance in classical public international law, inter-governmental organisations like the ITU. Prospects of such a proclamation could be a stronger protection against both private and governmental intrusions. The seven principles of the common heritage of humankind seem well fit for this adaptation: Freedom of access and use, Non-appropriation, Solidarity, Peaceful use, Sustainability, Sovereignty and liability.
Research Group "Shifts in norm setting"