Data Protection and Freedom of Expression Beyond EU borders: EU Judicial Perspectives in the Digital Era

This paper aims to investigate the extraterritorial effect of EU law looking at the caselaw of the ECJ and how the balancing process of rights developed by the Court is impacting on the third countries’ digital sovereignty. In this perspective, the digital privacy is probably the best-case study for analysing the European “imperialism” on the Internet, but it is not the only one. The EU approach to digital privacy seems to be embraced by the EU Court of Justice also in the free speech field, inaugurating new eventual trends in this perennial conflict between different digital sovereignties on the Web. In this context, this work analyses the legal framework of the extraterritorial effect of EU law concerning privacy and explores the most recent trends focusing on Cnil v. Google and Glawischnig-Piesczek v. Facebook. The aim is to understand if in the framework of EU policies these last decisions could be herald of a new field in which digital imperialism could take shape.