National Sovereignty, Security, and Internet Governance: Impact on Constitutional Principles and Challenges for the Human Rights of Internet Users

Andrey A. Shcherbovich

SUMMARY: 1. Social and Political Context. - 2. The Problem of “Sovereignty” on the Internet. - 3. Internet Sovereignty Bill. - 4. Law. - 5. The Law of Extrajudicial Blocking of Websites. - 6. Localization of Personal Data of Russian Citizens. - 7. Yarovaya Antiterrorist Laws. - 8. Fragmentation as a Threat to the Existence of the Internet.

In 2016, the State Duma (Russian Parliament) adopted a package of anti-terrorist amendments to the legislation that was developed by Deputy Irina Yarovaya and member of the Council of the Federation Viktor Ozerov (the so-called Yarovaya Law). It is necessary to pay special attention to the impact of the so-called Yarovaya Law on the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens. These amendments provide the disclosure of personal data to the competent authorities. Third parties (employees of state bodies) become aware of the privacy of citizens, their correspondence and other data, access to which by any third party other than the addressee would be restricted in normal circumstances.

Social and Political Context

The Internet, being a supranational environment that does not recognize state borders, serves as a guarantee for positive changes in society. The needs of people of the twenty-first century standing before the scientific community the issue of inclusion in the set of basic human rights and the rights of new approaches to their implementation, which develop rights proposed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and other international instruments.

Russian Internet users’ understanding of the traditional legal culture is that the Internet is a space, free from any legal regulation. This freedom should not be understood as anarchy, but the Internet could be an asylum for freedom of expression, as well for the freedom of thought.

The Internet, directly or indirectly, affects the realization of all constitutional rights. It affects the realization of the constitutional freedom of expression and of the right and access to information, but through the right of access information people are realizing other constitutional rights. That is why this sphere is so important in terms of legal regulation.

The Internet has global characteristics not only in the geographical, but also in the social and legal sense of the word, as it affects a wide range of social relations. Due to the specific nature of the Internet, we are in great need of adequate legal regulation of the relevant relationships that are developing online.

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