The limits of (digital) constitutionalism: Exploring the privacy-security (im)balance in Australia

This presentation explores the challenges of digital constitutionalism in practice through a case study examining how concepts of privacy and security have been framed and contested in Australian cyber security and telecommunications policy-making over the last decade. We seek to understand if, and how, principles of digital constitutionalism have been incorporated at the national level. Our analysis suggests a fundamental challenge for the project of digital constitutionalism in developing and implementing principles that have practical or legally binding impact on domestic telecommunications and cyber security policy. We show that despite Australia's high-level commitments to privacy through membership of the Freedom Online Coalition, individual rights are routinely discounted against collective rights to security. We conclude by arguing that, at least in Australia, the domestic conditions limit the practical application and enforcement of digital constitutionalism’s norms.