The norm development of digital sovereignty between China, Russia, the EU and the US: From the late 1990s to the Covid-crisis 2020/21 as catalytic event

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This chapter examines the norm development process of digital sovereignty in China, the EU, the US and Russia, investigating concepts such as digital sovereignty, technological sovereignty, internet sovereignty, data sovereignty, souveraineté numérique, digitale Souveränität, (‘network sovereignty’), (‘information sovereignty’) and Сувере (‘sovereign internet’). It develops an intellectual history of the norm development of digital sovereignty, roughly following Finnemore and Sikkink’s three-stage model, with each stage being initiated by a catalytic event. The first phase, norm emergence, lasts from the late 1990s and the Patriot Act in 2001 to Russia’s laws on internet control in 2012. During this phase, under the US’s largely uncontested digital hegemony, China is the prime norm entrepreneur of digital sovereignty, promoting (‘network sovereignty’) and (‘information sovereignty’). norm universalisation. Triggered by the catalytic events of Russia’s interference with the US general election and Brexit in 2016, these countries and regions became aware that their political systems were vulnerable to manipulation. The COVID crisis constitutes the most recent catalytic event and initiates the fourth stage of the norm development cycle, the stage of norm internalisation. Processes of digital sovereignty are increasingly implemented, and they emerge in a bottom-up manner, with civil society playing an important role. However, this, in turn, makes clear that digital sovereignty in liberal societies is strongly characterised and limited by the power of the private sector and restrictions on governmental power, such as federalism and multilateralism. The second phase, norm cascade, begins with the catalytic event of the Snowden revelations in 2013. This phase is characterised by an increasingly multipolar order. During this phase, the EU adopts a notion of digital sovereignty with a focus on economic aspects. And Russia’s notion of Суверенный интернет (‘sovereign internet’) becomes increasingly radicalised. In Russia and France, illiberal accounts of digital sovereignty are supported by Carl Schmitt’s geopolitical theories. From 2016 to 2020, the US and the EU underwent an additional phase norm universalisation. Triggered by the catalytic events of Russia’s interference with the US general election and Brexit in 2016, these countries and regions became aware that their political systems were vulnerable to manipulation. The COVID crisis constitutes the most recent catalytic event and initiates the fourth stage of the norm development cycle, the stage of norm internalisation. Processes of digital sovereignty are increasingly implemented, and they emerge in a bottom-up manner, with civil society playing an important role. However, this, in turn, makes clear that digital sovereignty in liberal societies is strongly characterised and limited by the power of the private sector and restrictions on governmental power, such as federalism and multilateralism.

Originele taal-2English
TitelData Protection and Privacy
SubtitelEnforcing Rights in a Changing World
RedacteurenDara Hallinan, Paul de Hert, Ronald Leenes
UitgeverijHart Publishing
Pagina's1-44
Aantal pagina's44
Volume14
ISBN van elektronische versie9781509954537
ISBN van geprinte versie9781509954513
StatusPublished - 1 jan 2021

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