Event Details

Research Seminar 'The Trans/National Dilemma: The Governance of Critical Digital Infrastructure'


The fifth EU Cyber Direct research seminar was organized by Leiden University on Thursday 25 May 2023 in The Hague, the Netherlands, and focused on the topic of critical digital infrastructures. The seminar considered the governance of trans/national critical digital infrastructure in general, as well as through the lens of two case studies – specifically subsea cables and Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) – and was driven by several key questions, including:

  • Opportunities and threats – what is the current state and future vision for the governance of this trans/national critical digital infrastructure, and what are the associated vulnerabilities and threats?
  • What are the potential consequences of reserving the governance of trans/national critical digital infrastructure to the national level? Conversely, what are the practical and political challenges of governing it internationally?
  • How can we differentiate a national from an international incident in the case of this infrastructure being misused or attacked?
  • What international governance is needed and possible? Given this trans/national digital critical infrastructure traverses jurisdictions, what legal aspects need to be considered?

The seminar was divided into three sessions, respectively focusing on 1. technical vulnerabilities: opportunities and threats, 2. trans/national governance: challenges and consequences, and 3. entering the international sphere. At the beginning of each session, two experts delivered presentations. This was then followed by an in-depth discussion amongst all participants.

A policy paper will be published in fall 2023 partly based on the discussions during the seminar.