Sovereignty in Cyberspace: Fit to govern?

Need a new passport? How do you fancy extending your claims to citizenship? So-called cyber-states are emerging to challenge traditional conceptions of statehood and provide opportunities for circumventing the authority of existing states. Yet various constraints prevent many of them claiming the full credentials for statehood.

The World Today Published 1 October 2000 Updated 28 October 2020 5 minute READ

Roy Smith

Co-Director at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies, Nottingham Trent University

Virtual space is being populated by a new form of quasi-state. the cyber-states have created an element of sovereignty for themselves and now seek the status of statehood from their peers in the ‘real’ world. Understandably, such recognition has been slow in coming. The cyber-states are not unique in aspiring to statehood and sovereignty. Any number of movements for self-determination have presented similar arguments, but with the significant difference of laying claim to disputed physical territory.

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