Digital Constitutionalism: The Role of Internet Bills of Rights

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Title: Digital Constitutionalism: The Role of Internet Bills of Rights
Authors: Celeste, Edoardo
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Date: Jan-2020
Online since: 2020-09-15T10:26:32Z
Abstract: A series of transformations within contemporary society is profoundly affecting the constitutional ecosystem. Existing constitutional norms shaped for ‘analogue’ communities struggle to address the challenges of the digital revolution. A unique response to this scenario has been the emergence of Internet bills of rights, non-binding declarations advocating constitutional principles for the digital society. This thesis examines this phenomenon, investigating in particular the role of these initiatives from a constitutional perspective. The first part of this work contextualises the emergence of Internet bills of rights. It is argued that contemporary society is witnessing a new constitutional moment. The constitutional ecosystem is reacting to face the challenges of the digital society through different normative instruments, including, but not limited to, Internet bills of rights. In light of the global and transnational character of the issues generated by the digital revolution, constitutional counteractions also emerge beyond the state dimension. The constitutional discourse is necessarily plural. However, these constitutional fragments can be interpreted as matching tesserae of a multi-level process of constitutionalisation. It is contended that these complementary normative responses share the goal of substantiating a form of digital constitutionalism, aiming to translate the core values of contemporary constitutionalism in light of the mutated characteristics of the digital society. The second part of this work analyses the role of Internet bills of rights in this complex process. It is claimed that, using the lingua franca of constitutions, these declarations aim to be part of the conversation on how to shape our constitutional principles in the digital age. Crucially, their informal and non-binding character enables the participation of a broad number of actors and enhances their capability of advancing innovative ideas. It is therefore argued that Internet bills of rights play a compensatory and stimulatory function within the ongoing process of constitutionalisation of the digital society. The analysis of their scope of application and substantive content is then presented as a litmus test of the health of our constitutional systems, highlighting areas affected by constitutional ‘anaemia’, a significant mismatch between constitutional norms and social reality, and thus requiring an urgent update.
Type of material: Doctoral Thesis
Publisher: University College Dublin. School of Law
Qualification Name: Ph.D.
Keywords: Digital constitutionalismInternet bill of rightsConstitutionalisationDigital revolution
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Law Theses

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