Constitutions Going Online – Internet-Related Dynamics in Constitutional Law?
Humboldt University of Berlin Internet & Society Working Paper No. 3/11
40 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2011 Last revised: 27 Jul 2012
Date Written: October 7, 2011
The internet is not merely a social phenomenon, it is more than that, it is of constitutional importance. Various academic disciplines have acknowledged this innovation‘s significance and selective internet-related issues have already been discussed from a legal perspective. But while these legal discussions have remained predominantly selective, no one has recently and comprehensively focused on the interrelationship between internet-related developments and the development of constitutions, i.e. the political and legal frameworks of states and societies within states. This gap shall be closed step-by-step. By way of example, it will be discussed at the first stage how German constitutional case-law as a major instrument for keeping pace with changing social and technical conditions has responded to internet-related challenges to the German Constitution. Simultaneously, it will be illustrated how the Court’s jurisprudence has provided a framework within which the internet may operate and further develop. It will be shown that the Constitutional Court has managed to cope with the development of the internet. Nonetheless, its way of addressing internet-related challenges may provoke further criticism and questions. Hence, assessing the Court’s response will not be an end in itself but also provide the basis for further research on internet-related dynamics in constitutional law of various states.
Keywords: constitution, internet, dynamics, interpretation, German federal constitutional court
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