Internet Bills of Rights: The Role of Soft Law in the Constitutionalisation of the Internet
Dr TJ McIntyre
This thesis elaborates a theory of ‘digital constitutionalism’ providing the first original investigation of how the digital revolution is changing contemporary constitutionalism. Constitutional law traditionally aims to ensure a long-lasting societal equilibrium, but society is in constant evolution. Continuous societal developments can reach a condition of saturation, which ineludibly leads to constitutional changes. The constitutional landscape is now living a new constitutional moment. The transformations prompted by the digital revolution in our society ferment under a vault of constitutional norms shaped for ‘analogue’ communities. However, the constitutional ecosystem does not lie inert. A series of normative counteractions arise to face the challenges of digital technology, both at state level and beyond. One key response is the emergence of Internet bills of rights: non-legally binding documents that seek to establish constitutional principles for the digital society. This thesis explores the function of these initiatives in the constitutional ecosystem, using constitutional instruments emerging in the state dimension as a term of comparison. This investigation ultimately unveils the real power of Internet bills of rights: courageously advancing the discourse on how to translate our core constitutional principles in the digital age.
Edoardo Celeste is PhD candidate at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin (Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar). His research interests include comparative constitutional law, EU law and IT law. In his PhD thesis, Edoardo is elaborating a theory of ‘digital constitutionalism’, examining how the digital revolution is changing contemporary constitutionalism and investigating the constitutional function of the Internet bills of rights. His LLM dissertation ‘Identikit for an Internet Constitution’ won the Dickson Poon Prize for the Best Dissertation (King’s College London).
Edoardo holds a law degree and a master of specialisation from the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’, a master in EU law from the University of Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas, and an LLM from King’s College London. He is a member of the editorial board of the UCD Law Review, and tutor of constitutional law and EU law at the UCD Sutherland School of Law. In 2018, he was research fellow at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) of Berlin. He is currently affiliated with the UCD Centre for Human Rights, and an associate member of the doctoral programme EPEDER (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).
Presentations and/or Publications:
- Edoardo Celeste, ‘The Court of Justice and the Ban on Bulk Data Retention: Expansive Potential and Future Scenarios’ (2019) 15(1) European Constitutional Law Review
- Edoardo Celeste, ‘Digital Constitutionalism: A New Systematic Theorisation’ (2019) 33(1) International Review of Law, Computers & Technology: 76-99, https://doi.org/10.1080/13600869.2019.1562604
- Edoardo Celeste, ‘Book Review: The Governance of EU Fundamental Rights’ (2018) 4(4) European Data Protection Law Review: 409-411.
- Edoardo Celeste, ‘Terms of Service and Bills of Rights: New Mechanisms of Constitutionalisation in the Social Media Environment’ (2018) 32 International Review of Law, Computers & Technology: 1-17, https://doi.org/10.1080/13600869.2018.1475898
- Edoardo Celeste, ‘Book Review: Human Rights Futures’ (2018) 4(1) European Data Protection Law Review: 135-139.
- Edoardo Celeste, ‘Packingham v North Carolina: A Constitutional Right to Social Media?’ (2018) Cork Online Law Review: 116-119.
- Edoardo Celeste, ‘Wi-Fi gratuito e responsabilità degli intermediari. Ancora alla ricerca di un «giusto equilibrio»’ [Free Wi-Fi and Intermediary Liability: In Search of a ‘Fair Balance’] (2017) 11 La Nuova Giurisprudenza Civile Commentata: 1595-1603.
- Edoardo Celeste, ‘The Irish Constitution and the Challenges of the Digital Age. Is It Time for a Bunreacht na hÉireann 2.0?’ (2017) The Constitution at 80: 80 Years of Constitutional Change, 11 November 2017, University of Limerick, https://ulsites.ul.ie/law/sites/default/files/Edoardo%20Celeste%20-%20Challenges%20of%20the%20Digital%20Age.pdf
- Edoardo Celeste, ‘The Scope of Application of Digital Constitutionalism: Output from an Empirical Research’ (2017) Nexa Research Paper, https://nexa.polito.it/nexacenterfiles/E.%20Celeste%20-%20Research%20Paper.pdf