Digital technologies are the outcomes of social processes and in turn they continuously transform our societies in fundamental ways. On the one hand, political, social and cultural values, beliefs and paradigms shape Internet architectures and design. On the other hand, the Internet and other digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and robotics revolutionize the way we work, keep in touch with friends, learn about the world or conduct our political affairs. Against this background, Digital Constitutionalism describes various undertakings by civil society, as well as institutional actors and business, to spell out adequate values for the digital age in a comprehensive way. This working group aims to continue producing interdisciplinary research and collaboration about how basic rights and fundamental values can best be protected in a digital age.
This working group previously convened a workshop at CAIS in November 2019. During the meeting, we developed the idea of a Digital Constitutionalism Network (DCN) to broaden the group’s composition specifically regarding skill set and disciplinary background. In 2020-2021, we indent to build on the outcomes of the first meeting in Bochum where we developed a common research framework that combines the different approaches to digital constitutionalism (e.g. actor-based analyses, analyses of narratives and frames, quantitative textual analysis, socio-legal analysis). The working group is also associated with an international workshop to take place at CAIS in early December 2021 that will bring together civil society representatives to discuss the role of human rights standards and the recent constitutionalization of social media for the future development of the Internet and related technologies. The working group also builds an online resource at digitalconstitutionalism.org with a dataset of more than two hundred so-called Internet bills of rights documents and is actively engaged in broadening its impact through participation in academic and policy conferences such as RightsCon 2021.