Towards an International Institutional Law of Information

In: International Organizations Law Review
Michael Riegner Researcher, Humboldt University zu Berlin, Germany; Visiting Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg

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How does international institutional law shape the way in which international institutions govern information and exercise cognitive authority? Drawing from the existing literature on indicators, data collection and transparency in international institutions such as the World Bank and the un, this paper argues that existing legal norms can be reconstructed as an overarching framework that legally structures global information governance. Indicators thus do not, as is often assumed, “escape” legal regulation; law rather co-constitutes the lens through which information about the world is generated. The paper analyses the institutional architecture and the modalities of informational action as well as the sources and regulatory modus of the existing legal framework. It exemplifies rules on institutional powers, participation, review and transparency and discusses general principles that structure the field. Taken together, these rules and principles circumscribe the emerging contours of an “international institutional law of information” that normatively frames the informational relationships between international institutions, states and individuals.

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