PANDEMICS IN CYBERSPACE – EMPIRE IN SEARCH OF A SOVEREIGN?
Keywords:Digital sovereignty, stateless society, cyber-paternalism, shared sovereignty
Traditionally, the idea of a sovereign is being connected either with an absolutist ruler (later replaced by “the people”) at the national level, or the nation-state at the international level – at least in the conditions of the Westphalian system created in 1648. Today, on the contrary, we are witnessing a “post-” situation in many respects – post-modernism, postpositivism, but also post-statism – basically being a sort of return to the pre-Westphalian system (see Ondrej Hamuľák, “Lessons from the ‘Constitutional Mythology’ or How to Reconcile the Concept of State Sovereignty with European Integration,” DANUBE: Law, Economics and Social Issues Review Vol. 6, No. 2 (2015); or Danuta Kabat-Rudnicka, “Autonomy or Sovereignty: the Case of the European Union,” International and Comparative Law Review Vol. 20, No. 2 (2020)). However, paternalistic views, prevailing especially in times of crisis and uncertainty, desperately search for a sovereign to lead us from the crises. With regard to cyberattacks and insecurity in the cyberspace this means an effort to subordinate cyberspace to state sovereignty. Still, given the limitations of traditional state-based monopolies of power and legislation, the state as an “analogue sovereign” shrinks in the digital cyberspace rather to a co-sovereign, co-ordinator, or in feudal terms a “senior” vis-à-vis their vassals. The actual ensuring of the tasks of state as a “digital sovereign” is namely often being entrusted to nonstate (essentially private-owned) entities, under the threat of legal sanctions. The current situation of constructing “digital sovereignty” of traditional states or of the EU is thus marked by the necessity of cooperation between the state power and those non-state entities which are falling under its analogue jurisdiction.