The Future of Cybertravel: Legal Implications of the Evasion of Geolocation

Presented at DEF CON 19 (2011), Aug. 7, 2011, 2 p.m. (50 minutes)

This presentation discusses the current legal status of evasion of geolocation and the potential liability of the user-evader or provider of an evasion tool. The presentation also projects how the law might develop to treat acts of evasion and what challenges the technical community might face in this area. The legal community has shown an interest in geolocation for several years; however, until recently it did not seriously consider mandating the use of geolocation to comply with national laws and regulations. Recently, there have been indications that governments will turn to geolocation as a viable means of partitioning cyberspace; geolocation tools should help mimic physical borders in cyberspace. The emerging reliance of legal systems on geolocation creates a need to address evasion of geolocation and reevaluate the legality of acts of evasion. So far, no legal disputes concerning evasion have been published; however, the ongoing disputes regarding place-shifting technologies, such as the lawsuits against ivi and in the U.S., TV Catch UP in the U.K., and ManekiTV in Japan, indicate that evasion of geolocation is the next in line for legal attention. The presentation will provide no legal advice but will offer a number of suggestions that should be considered by those who use evasion, are interested in evasion, or are in the process of developing evasion tools. Additionally, it will suggest the types of legal policy issues that are likely to emerge in the near future.


  • Marketa Trimble - Associate Professor of Law, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Dr. Marketa Trimble is an intellectual property law professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her research and teaching on cross-border intellectual property issues have led her to the investigation of various cyberlaw issues, including legal problems in the context of the internet as the primary place for business and daily activities. She holds two doctoral law degrees, one from Stanford University Law School and one from Charles University Law School in Prague, has expertise from working in the European Union and in European governments, and conducts legal research in English, German and Czech, which gives her a unique perspective on legal problems that transcend international borders and involve the legal regimes and policy choices of multiple countries.