A Call for a 'Value-Driven' Approach to Digital Sovereignty



    The Internet has been labelled as an independent and universal space throughout the 1990s and until today many believe it should be run by a special set of rules. Concrete examples include cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin, Ethereum) and ‘self-sovereign’ digital identity management. However, the discussion whether countries should pay more attention to ‘Digital Sovereignty’ has intensified over the last decade. In the 2020 programme for Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), it proposed that Digital Sovereignty should become a guiding objective (‘Leitmotiv’) for future policies. Some believe it is necessary to reassert authority over the internet and protect citizens and businesses from the manifold challenges to self-determination online. The dependency on large corporations and their platforms to engage in all aspects of social and economic life was already much discussed before the pandemic, but has only increased with the need for physical distancing. Data is vital to understand and mitigate the impact of SARS-CoV-2 and the reliable accessibility of data infrastructure is a key concern as the ‘Digital Divide’ grows. Unresolved national security concerns, such as the persistent threats of surveillance and cyberattacks, combined with the inability of the multi-stakeholder community to address them fuel the desire of many to ‘take back control’. The simple idea that sovereignty needs to be perfectly aligned between national territory and cyberspace is appealing at first. However, it undermines the privileges of those who are fully accustomed to the social and economic benefits of an open internet that enables cross-border exchange.
    Originele taal-2English
    Mijlpalentype toekennenCommentary
    OutputmediaIsrael Public Policy Institute
    UitgeverIsrael Public Policy Institute
    StatusPublished - 4-mei-2021

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