Digital Constitutionalism: The Force of Internet Bills of Rights

We need a constitution for the Internet. This is the claim that over the past few years has frequently resonated in the words of various digital literati. In the Internet, both nation-states and big technology companies restrict individual fundamental rights in multifarious ways, consequently generating a series of intrinsically constitutional questions. Some scholars advocate the need to draft a ‘bill of rights’ for the Internet, a written document on the model of the ancient declarations of rights of the eighteenth century. Following this appeal, many civil society groups have crafted their own decalogue of digital rights, giving rise to a movement advocating a new form of digital constitutionalism. We can count almost two hundred of these declarations. This presentation will explore what their added-value is in the constitutional ecosystem, ultimately examining the ‘force’ of these declarations of rights, an old constitutional instrument entrusted with a truly contemporary mission.