Vivek Krishnamurthy

Lecturer on Law

2016-2017

Berkman Center
23 Everett St

Biography

Vivek Krishnamurthy is the Assistant Director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic. A public international lawyer by training and background, Vivek’s clinical teaching focuses on the regulation of the internet as a cross-border phenomenon and on the human rights impacts of internet-based technologies. He advises activists, journalists, governments, and technology companies on these questions and has spoken about the intersection between the internet and human rights at conferences and symposia around the world.

A graduate of Yale Law School, Vivek holds degrees from the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He clerked for the Hon. Morris J. Fish of the Supreme Court of Canada and currently sits on the board of two human rights charities. Prior to joining the Cyberlaw Clinic, Vivek was an associate in the Corporate Social Responsibility and International Litigation practice groups at Foley Hoag LLP.

Areas of Interest

Vivek Krishnamurthy, Cloudy with a Conflict of Laws: How Cloud Computing Has Disrupted the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty System and Why It Matters (Berkman Ctr. Res. Pub. No. 2016-3, 2016).
Categories:
Civil Practice & Procedure
,
Technology & Law
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Conflict of Laws
,
Treaties & International Agreements
,
Networked Society
,
Cyberlaw
Type: Other
Abstract
As more and more of our lives are lived online, so too are those who live lives of crime. Like everyone else, criminals of all stripes are increasingly using online services of all kinds to plan and commit their wrongful acts. Evidence of crime that not so long ago was on-the-ground and physical is now increasingly in-the-cloud and digital. All this has thrown the law parcelling the authority to search and seize among different jurisdictions into confusion, as clouds of data — like those in the sky — are everywhere and nowhere at once. Unless some clarity is brought to this situation and soon, the future of cloud computing as a unified global phenomenon may be hazy indeed. This paper describes how the fractal complexity of cloud computing’s physical geography has fractured the system of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) that arose during the jet age to help shuttle evidence of crime across borders. It explains why the territorially-based MLAT system fundamentally doesn’t work with the physical, technological, and corporate structures that are used to deliver cloud-based services, and how the resulting problems threaten their continued global nature. It highlights the role played by US laws, companies, and government institutions in exacerbating these difficulties that, ironically, have now been visited on the US government itself in the Microsoft Ireland case. It then finally sketches some elements of a potential solution based on principled US leadership that recognizes the legitimate interests of other governments. This paper is hardly the first to examine what’s wrong with the MLAT system or what should be done to fix it. Since the Microsoft Ireland case first started to make headlines nearly two years ago, there has been a flurry of writing on this issue from a range of perspectives. What I hope this paper will contribute is a fuller description of why the MLAT system and cloud computing as we know them are fundamentally irreconcilable, and what are the minimum requirements of an alternative regime that can prevent the splintering of these services along national geographic lines. This paper has grown out of my participation first in a symposium on this issue hosted here at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society in June 2015, which was generously supported by the MacArthur Foundation and Microsoft Corporation, and then by my ongoing involvement in an ad-hoc Cross-Border Data Requests (CBDR) working group of US-based stakeholders that is devising solutions to the problems my paper discusses. My views on this topic are entirely my own and do not represent those of the Berkman Center, the participants in and sponsors of the June 2015 event, or my CBDR co-collaborators — all of whom I thank for informing and inspiring this work.
Dalia T. Ritvo, Vivek Krishnamurthy & Sarah Altschuller, Managing User Rights Responsibly: A Guide for Early-Stage Companies (Berkman Ctr. for Internet & Soc'y 2016).
Categories:
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
Communications Law
,
Information Privacy & Security
,
Networked Society
Type: Other
Vivek Krishnamurthy, Boundless Courts and a Borderless Internet, in Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World 130 (Urs Gasser, Jonathan L. Zittrain, Robert Faris & Rebekah Heacock Jones eds., Berkman Ctr. for Internet & Soc'y 2014).
Categories:
Civil Practice & Procedure
,
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
Jurisdiction
,
Cyberlaw
Type: Other

Bar Admissions

Education History

Current Courses

Course Catalog View

Berkman Center
23 Everett St