INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF GOVERNABILITY AND THE PROBLEM OF VEILLANCE IN THE SPACE OF DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS

L.V. Smorgunov

Leonid V. Smorgunov, St. Petersburg State University, Universitetskaja nab., 7/9, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

ORCID 0000-0002-2581-2975

Acknowledgement. The research was carried out through the financial support of the Russian Scienсе Foundation, grant No 19-18-00210 “Political ontology of digitalization: Study of insti- tutional bases for digital forms of governability”.

Abstract. The article raises the problem of public governability in modern media which entail surveillance and sousveillance. Digitalization in the sphere of public life entails both positive effects and threats. Improving conditions for governability, digitalization simultaneously gen- erates the threat of surveillance and sousveillance. The paper dwells upon the specificity of both. Oversight can result in turning governability into the instrument of ordering people’s life. In this context, governability is a data-intensive instrument that uses the data array pro- cessed by large operational systems about citizens. It allows not only to control them but also to use the data to govern and control the behavior of large masses of people. Sousveillance is the result of the need for network belonging and it generates self-censorship as a form of gov- ernability. Yet, the citizens’ participation in public administration, backed by modern digital technologies, is opposed to surveillance and sousveillance. Digital public governance is based on algorithms that ensure such institutional norms of interaction as anonymity, justice and reciprocity. Participatory governability is the result of network-based coordination of inter- action that creates the effect of collaboration rather than contest. The tendency of “Internet sovereignty” is analyzed as a form of governability, which is expressed in modern regulatory policies of states aimed at creating conditions to provide sufficient national guarantees of con- trol over the Internet space. The paper emphasizes the importance of legal institutionalization of modern forms of governability arising in the context of the development of control from above and from below.

Keywords: public governability, surveillance, sousveillance, sovereign Internet, institutionali- zation.

DOI: 10.31429/26190567-20-3-62-75