Digital sovereignty denotes the authority of individuals over their presence and representations in the digital world.

 The definition of digital sovereinty is relatively flurry due to its varying meanings. So for this brief discussion, we have searched for both: digital sovereignty and data sovereignty. What we found was that the terms' interpretations take mainly a governmental view based on definitions for "sovereignty" (different from the terms' use in Germany as discussed in Digitale Souveränität - Was ist das?).


Please see the following examples:

We apply a much more individualistic view on digital or data sovereignty. Our interpretation is derived from the perspective of individuals, who are often called the sovereign in democratic societies. In, 2016-01-04, we found definitions of sovereignty which support this approach, such as

  • from Webster's Dictionary: the quality or state of being sovereign, the status, dominion, power or authority of a sovereign; royalty, supreme and independent power of authority in a state, rightful status, independence, or prerogative (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.)
  • or from The American Heritage Thesaurus: authority, command, control, domination, dominion, jurisdiction, mastery, might, power, prerogative, sway (The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)

Based upon this individualistic view, digital sovereignty denotes the authority and control of individuals over their presence or representation in the digital world (we may discuss "digital world" in a later follow-up to this). Any piece of digital information in the digital world (the data) relating to an individual must therefore be controllable or under the authority of the individual! The control/authority may be delegated to third parties who act on behalf of the individual. However, the designated third parties must follow a regimen, which is governed by law and implemented by an independent authority. Not surprisingly we recommend to apply the same foundational rules to the digital world and to the rights and duties of a digital sovereign as we have seen functioning in living democracies. The term data sovereignty is a clear consequence of digital sovereignty as it denotes the sovereignty of the digital sovereigns over their presence and representation in the digital world.