The role of states is fundamentally challenged in the digital realm. Westphalian nation states, built on 19th century notions of sovereignty and statehood, witness their roles, premises and basic assumptions questioned as the virtual, digital world complements the real, analogue environment.
Constitutions are increasingly in need of digitisation (digital constitutionalism), data sovereignty seems a lost cause, citizens are allowed to become e-residents or digital nomads, digitally carrying out their lives and creating income in other, competing jurisdictions.
Challenges also come from outside: The digital environment allows large international corporations, that until recently had to establish local presence within any specific jurisdiction they wished to become active, to carry out business and realise income remotely, paying little attention to geographical borders and local laws.
States will therefore need novel concepts and new structures to assist them in their struggle to reaffirm their fitness for any purpose and safeguard their continued existence.
Four issues to be addressed by the panel:
• Digital states and digital statehood;
• Digital constitutionalism and new types of individual rights;
• Is data sovereignty (if considered a worthy cause) attainable?
• What is the role of states in the digital environment? States as platforms