Review of Information Sovereignty: Data Privacy, Sovereign Powers and the Rule of Law by Radim Polčák and Dan Jerker B. Svantesson
Claudia Quelle, Review of Information Sovereignty: Data Privacy, Sovereign Powers and the Rule of Law by Radim Polčák and Dan Jerker B. Svantesson (2018) European Data Protection Law Review 4(2)
6 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2018
Date Written: April 17, 2018
Information Sovereignty is an inspiring and witty study of the sovereignty of states and of individuals in the digital context. Polčák and Svantesson bring together previous work on the nature of data and of information, the distinctness of cyberspace, and the question how to tackle various kinds of cross-border data transfers, considering e.g. the extraterritoriality of EU data protection law and law enforcement access to evidence held in the cloud. The authors present us with the idea that when it comes to data, state sovereignty and privacy are very similar, if not the same. This review will focus on the privacy/sovereignty analogy. I will sketch the relevant arguments and reflect briefly on the existence of individual sovereignty (privacy) within the state, in comparison with the existence of state sovereignty in the international community. How can individual sovereignty (privacy) exist inside a sovereign state? Since neither sovereignty nor privacy is tied to some territory or factual control, their existence is normatively granted. Sovereignty is whatever jurisdiction is granted after a careful balancing of the interests at stake, while privacy only exists where a similar balancing exercise has carved out a space for the individual. The analogy fails, however, when we compare who grants privacy or sovereignty.
Keywords: privacy, sovereignty, data protection law, informational self-determination, user control
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