The Enforcers The Hague Convention

The Enforcers: The Hague Convention and the
Threat to Internet Freedoms and Consumer Rights,
Charlie
Cray, Multinational Monitor
Users of the Internet may soon face a higher risk of international
lawsuits. Charlie Cray of the Multinational Monitor
warns that the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign
Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (commonly known as the
Hague Convention), a treaty now under negotiation by 50
countries–including the U.S.–would adversely affect all users of
the Internet, from consumers and people posting opinions to website
developers and writers. Drafted in 1992, the treaty was originally
devised to uphold inidivual country’s legal rulings
internationally. But drafters did not foresee the rising use of the
Internet. In the global Internet domain, determining what laws to
abide by is already murky, and the Hague Convention’s policies
could increase the confusion: Possible results include a diminished
freedom to comment critically on another country’s public figures
and government, as well as what Cray sees as the potential to
subject ‘both consumers and businesses to virtually any
jurisdiction where the Internet is available–giving plaintiffs the
ability to shop around for a legal forum where they might have an
advantage.’
–Julie Madsen
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