We created an interactive network map of the dataset provided in the article “Towards Digital Constitutionalism? Mapping Attempts to Craft and Internet Bill of Rights” by Lex Gill, Dennis Redeker and Urs Gasser, November 9, 2015. The paper conducts an analysis of 30 initiatives, from advocacy statements to official positions of intergovernmental organizations to proposed legislation, spanning from 1999 to 2015. As this is a quite complex policy making process on “digital constitutionalism”, we aimed to explore it using the interactive graph interface on Graph Commons.

You can view this graph larger on Graph Commons. Here is an excerpt from the paper abstract:

The idea of an “Internet Bill of Rights” is by no means a new one: in fact, serious efforts to draft such a document can be traced at least as far back as the mid-1990s. Though the form, function and scope of such initiatives has evolved, the concept has had remarkable staying power, and now — two full decades later — principles which were once radically aspirational have begun to crystallize into law. In this paper, we propose a unified term to describe these efforts using the umbrella of “digital constitutionalism” and conduct an analysis of thirty initiatives spanning from 1999 to 2015. These initiatives have great differences, and range from advocacy statements to official positions of intergovernmental organizations to proposed legislation. However, in their own way, they are each engaged in the same conversation, seeking to advance a relatively comprehensive set of rights, principles, and governance norms for the Internet, and are usefully understood as part of a broader proto-constitutional discourse. While this paper does not attempt to capture every facet of this complex political behavior, we hope to offer a preliminary map of the landscape, provide a comparative examination of these diverse efforts toward digital constitutionalism, and — most importantly — provoke new questions for further research and study.

Towards-Digital-Constitutionalism-detail

The graph model we created contains two relations:

Actor -ACTS IN-> Document
Document -ADDRESSES-> Topic 

It was suprising to discover how central the “African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms”, while quite obvious to see “Right to be forgotten” topic to be peripheral, which is only supported by few European political parties. We suggest you explore the network map yourself as an accompany to the paper. Simply, you can start reading the network map with the following questions:

  • Which documents are close by / similar to each other based on shared topics?

  • Which topics are at the center, which ones are in the periphery? What do their graph positions tell us?

  • What would those separately clustered topics mean?

  • How do certain organizations aggregate together to support one document?

  • Are there interesting paths between organizations supporting similar topics via the documents?

We suggest you try the graph interface to explore these questions.

Instant search and point to any actor and document in the graph

Click on the search and type first few letter of your interest; see the suggested list of topics, documents, or actors; select one and it will be highlighted on the graph with immediate relations.

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Use filter to view the graph from several axes

Click on the filter icon on the right, check and uncheck options, set date ranges for different node properties.

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Filter documents to see just the year 2015

Focus on just the last year’s proposed documents and topics.

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Filter documents proposed by the governments from 2013 to 2015

View what are the shared interests of various governments on the Internet policy the past two years.

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The source code to used to generate this graph can be found here.


For those interested, we recommend you to explore Mapping Internet Governance graph launched at the Internet Ungovernance Forum in Istanbul, September 2014.


We hope that you will spend some time browsing the graphs. Feel free to share anything you create or find.

We welcome feedback on your experience. You can send all problems, suggestions, questions and comments to contact@graphcommons.com, we’d love to hear from you.