When ‘there’ can be everywhere: On the cross-border use of WhatsApp, Pandora, and Grindr

Arno R Lodder

Abstract


Smart phones and tablets are becoming the main devices for accessing Internet, and will outnumber the world population in 2016. Mobile Devices contain photos, contacts, unique identifiers, payment data, logs, etc., and are used everywhere, including abroad. Apps process user information, including the user’s locality to offer dedicated services and advertisements, and may turn on cameras and microphones. Most users lack awareness of what apps do, what data are used, and what norms apply. Mobility of users complicates norm application. Global use, on a global infrastructure does not match well with local, national law.

 

This paper briefly discusses the quadruplet contracting, security, privacy and advertisements. The main question addressed is how the use of apps, in particular when crossing borders, has impact on the traditional jurisdiction model. Three cases are used to illustrate how apps and smart devices complicate norm application. The issue of privacy is exemplified by discussing the program WhatsApp, the music app Pandora is used to address copyright, and finally the dating app Grindr focuses on criminal law. The already difficult application and enforcement of norms on the Internet increases now devices providing Internet connections are seamlessly taken from one country to another, and are always in the proximity of their users: they are always connected, always available.


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