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ALTEP-DP Evening Debate - Sovereignty and Cyberspace by Brussels Privacy Hub and ALTEP DP (29 Jun)

  • June 20, 2022

Articulating Law, Technology, Ethics & Politics: Issues of Enforcement and Jurisdiction of EU Data Protection Law under and beyond the GDPR' (ALTEP DP)

Date Wednesday, 29 June, 2022

Time 17:00-18:00 followed by a reception

Hybrid format

In-person venue: ICAB Business & Technology Incubator, MADERA Room.

Rue des Pères Blancs 4, 1040 Bruxelles

Online participation via Teams

Registration: The event is free to attend but registration for attending the event in person and online is required. You can register here.


What’s at stake?

The popular concept of digital sovereignty seems like a very abstract issue but it touches everyone, even those who never used an online service. Recently there has been a resurgence of the topic, with the European Commission and several companies using more and more the concept of sovereignty in the digital realm. Such invocations, and related initiatives, have political and legal consequences.

Sovereignty is a form of controlling power. While in the offline world this power has been usually linked to the governing power of the state within a certain territory, such power may be shifted in cyberspace, due mainly to its borderless nature (the continuous regulatory tension between states and companies within the digital infrastructure for instance).

This evening debates is going to shed some light on the mode of existence of sovereignty in cyberspace, in search of answer to the question of what determines sovereignty in cyberspace. Cyberspace challenges the concept of sovereignty to redefine its connection with a delimited, exclusive, physical territory in order to tame a virtual, unbounded space where concurrent and overlapping sovereignties may coexist.


The speakers are going to reflect on the following questions

What kind of power leads to these overlapping sovereignties and what implications does it cause for the relation between data and the individuals to whom they relate?
Is it possible to impose geographic boundaries on the global internet or is it borderless by design? Can and should governments gain more authority over the internet and the services it enables within their borders, such as limiting the movement of data and regulating tech companies?
Is the EU with its recent regulatory and policy initiatives leading towards a European digital sovereignty? 



Desara Dushi, LSTS- VUB


Johannes Thumfart, LSTS- VUB

Francesca Musiani, French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Dr. Rocco Bellanova, Assistant Professor at University of Amsterdam