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School of Law

Jessica Shurson


PhD Student



Thesis Title

Legal Jurisdiction and the Globalization of Evidence: A Theory of Data Sovereignty for Law Enforcement Access to Data Across Borders.


Professor Ian Walden and Professor Julia Hornle

Summary of Research

This thesis will develop a theory of data sovereignty, grounded in public international law, which identifies and balances legitimate interests in data that support both data protection laws and law enforcement access to data across borders. This thesis will utilize this theory of data sovereignty to critically assess emerging approaches to reform the mutual legal assistance system, including the US Cloud Act, the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention Additional Protocol, and the EU E-Evidence Proposals. Ultimately, the thesis will determine whether these principles of data sovereignty can be utilized to identify a harmonized approach to law enforcement access to cross-border data that simultaneously: (1) offers enhanced certainty to internet service providers by eliminating conflicts of laws; (2) respects individual privacy and other human rights; and (3) recognizes sometimes overlapping, yet legitimate, state interests in accessing and protecting data.


Jessica Shurson is a PhD Candidate at Queen Mary University of London in the field of computer and communications law. Prior to her research in the UK, Jessica served as an Assistant District Attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, specializing in child abuse and sex crimes prosecution. She holds an LLM with Distinction in Human Rights Law from Queen Mary University of London, a JD cum laude from the University of Memphis, and a BA in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Minnesota.


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