Separation of “digital” rights: new technologies, new opportunities, new restrictions

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Author: Andrey Rumyantsev

Keywords: freedom; information technology; social factors; subjective right; technological development; “the right to be forgotten”

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2021-6-70-105


“Digital” rights have become a popular topic of the current legal research. Sometimes it appears that computer technology “acts” as an independent phenomenon, developing according to its own laws and beyond the control of humans. Yet, we should not forget that law as a regulatory framework still deals with relationships among human beings and not between humans and machines, or machines among themselves. The nature of these relations is changing, influenced by various factors, one of which is the level of technological development in general, and not only the one of information technologies (social factors). In this context, we can refer to the traditional concept of “material culture”, which denotes the totality of all artifacts, that is, objects created by humans. Social factors, whether related to technology or not, play on the same field and are therefore to some extent interchangeable. The set of social functions that must be performed in a society is definitive. When designing legal regime, it is necessary to understand which social function is influenced by a certain technological innovation, and to address not the use of a device or technological process itself, but rather this social aspect. The subject of social control remains the relationship among humans, changing to some extent due to the use of new technology. Legal control is possible in two main forms, differing in how compliance with the rules (imperatives) is managed: either in a centralized manner, by special public authorities, or by individual (private) actors. In the latter case, we talk about subjective rights. These (subjective) rights make it possible to distribute responsibility and initiative for the application of the rules of (objective) law between society and the State, which in certain cases is a preferable option compared to centralized regulatory regime.

About the author: Andrey Rumyantsev – Dr. jur., Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Comparative constitutional review”, Moscow.

Citation: Rumyantsev A. (2021) Obosoblenie “tsifrovykh” prav: novye tekhnologii, novye vozmozhnosti, novye ogranicheniya [Separation of “digital” rights: new technologies, new opportunities, new restrictions]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 70–105. (In Russian).


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