Special Issue: Digital Sovereignty - Interdisciplinary insights into digital technology and infrastructure, information privacy and digital security



Digital Sovereignty - Interdisciplinary insights into digital technology and infrastructure, information privacy and digital security

Guest Editors
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Edgar Weippl, Research Group Security and Privacy, University of Vienna, Austria 

Dr. Johanna Ullrich, Networks and Critical Infrastructures Security Research Group, SBA Research, Austria, 

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Parycek, Department for E-Governance and Administration, University for Continuing Education Krems, Austria

Ass.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Lampoltshammer, Department for E-Governance  and Administration, University for Continuing Education Krems, Austria

Important Dates

- Submission open until 31st of December 2023
- Issue to be published June 2024
- Ongoing submissions are possible


In our technologically advanced, multiply connected and increasingly complex world digital space has become an economically, politically, and socially significant domain. As such it falls subject to competing interests of globally dispersed agents, which are exceedingly hard to reconcile, as they may differ immensely with respect to their underlying aims and values. In response to the need to navigate this challenging and potentially hostile environment “digital sovereignty” has emerged as a key issue in recent research and policy development. The concept refers to the capacity for autonomous action within the digital sphere and connects three underlying and equally important dimensions of conscious and deliberate technology utilization:

1. Digital Technology and Infrastructure,

2. Information Privacy, and

3. Digital Security.

As we rely more and more on digital technologies to facilitate work processes and support communication, we become increasingly dependent on digital infrastructures such as microchips, cloud services, and social media platforms. As a result, their design and structural requirements provide the framework within which various challenges to autonomous agency arise and need to be addressed. Some of these challenges are privacy related and concern the proper collection, storage, handling and dissemination of personal and personally relevant information. They require a purposeful and responsible approach to dealing with data and the development and implementation of appropriate data protection measures. Others relate to security in general. The security dimension has a much wider scope since security challenges can emerge on every level of technological infrastructure and are not limited to vulnerabilities that bear the risk of violating privacy. Network reliability and the integrity of operational processes can be equally at risk. As digital technologies are constantly evolving, resulting in ever more intricate threats to privacy and security, these critical foundations of digital autonomous agency need to be continuously monitored, assessed, and provided for.

With this special issue we want to contribute to this endeavor by inviting submissions focusing on (but in no way limited to) the following areas of interest: 

- Normative framework and conceptual foundations for digital sovereignty.

- Implications digital sovereignty measures (or lack thereof) have for functionality, economic viability, innovation, (international) cooperation, and sustainability of governmental, institutional, or economic processes.

- Requirements of resilience-enhancing measures to increase the availability of systems.

- Vulnerability of central systems as single points of failure. 

- Reliable assessment of privacy and security risks (Business Impact Analysis, Privacy Impact Analysis).

- Requirements for and compatibility of realizing different security and/or privacy objectives.

- Potentials and risks of digital sovereignty measures to influence and shape economic, political, and societal structures (Digital Humanism).

- Normative requirements on privacy and security measures resulting from digital infrastructure being classified as public good.

- Unintended effects the implementation of digital sovereignty measures might have.


We especially encourage submissions that draw on interdisciplinary perspectives and combine insights from such fields as political science, international relations, law, computer science, sociology, philosophy, and economics.