Comparative digital constitutionalism

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Sommersemester 2022

Comparative digital constitutionalism

The emerging reality of digital technologies has an increasing impact on the structures and processes of modern constitutional States. Faced with these challenges, different countries and legal areas are increasingly creating laws regulating freedom of speech online, digital markets, public digital administration, smart contracts in the private markets, blockchain technologies, social media platforms, and many other issues. Such emerging regulatory trend has been framed as ‘digital constitutionalism’.

Despite mutual influences, circulation, and cross-fertilisation, these regulatory instruments often differ and diverge, depending on their own constitutional tradition, structures, and cultures. Moreover, besides the traditional distinctions between US and European constitutionalism, an increasingly apparent divide emerges between Global South and Global North approaches to the constitutional regulation of digital technologies.

Against this background, this class aims to provide students the instruments to analyse, assess, and address such issues using comparative law methodology. Through analogy and contrast, they will be able to identify different regulatory approaches, their varying effectiveness, and their respective entrenchment in the institutional structures of the constitutional systems under analysis. They will also be able to identify and evaluate policy proposals in the field of legal regulation of digital technologies, thus acquiring skills increasingly essential for lawyers, both as legal professionals and as legal advisers to national governments and international organisations.

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