Law, College of


Date of this Version



Coordinates, May 2015, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 8-10, 12-14


Copyright © 2015 Frans G. von der Dunk. Used by permission.


Navigation making use of advanced technologies—notably involving radiowaves providing precise information on positioning, navigation options, and on the surrounding geographic environment—has become an ever more present phenomenon in today’s societies. Needless to say, this raises also a number of profound legal issues, some more general in nature, some more specific to the navigation sector or even a specific subsector thereof, alternatively taking on a specific flavor once arising in that context. Among those, arguably the issues of privacy and protection of data against undue interference, respectively liability for erroneous positioning, navigation, or environmental information and any damage or loss suffered as a consequence of trusting such information, arise as the two most prominent and complex ones. The present paper therefore represents an effort to survey, analyze, and evaluate these two issues, with a focus on international and, as relevant, European law as an example of how regional or even national law may further—and often indeed do—interpret the international rules and/or the general principles behind them. In many respects the law has not yet dealt at any level of detail with navigation-related or -specific privacy issues or liabilities, not only much work remains still to be done in the legal realm, but it would be highly advisable for any stakeholder in the sector to follow and, as far as feasible and justifiable, influence that process in order to arrive in the end at a (much more) logical, comprehensive, transparent, and balanced legal regime allowing navigation to offer its benefits to mankind and individual societies without unduly interfering with the right to privacy and while taking appropriate care of liabilities for damage.