Talk by Professor Mart Susi

Mart Susi will talk about the Internet Balancing formula.


The international legal and civil communities have consensually agreed that rights online are the same as offline. At the same time, there is no consensus about the standards and methods to be applied to enforce the idea of sameness. The horizontal nature of human rights protection possibilities in the Internet reduces the moral authority of private Internet service providers to claim correctness through their balancing activity. The idea of the Internet Balancing Formula is based on the recognition of legal realities and capabilities (the “black box” phenomenon) – the impossibility to provide reasons for decisions by private ISPs when assessing conflicting human rights and the immense lack of time and legal expertise when adopting respective decisions. The Internet Balancing Formula needs to be an easy-to-use mathematical instrument, where the input of data by non-judicial entity leads to an outcome whether to block and/or delete data, based on the relative weight of the inserted input elements. The formula will decrease the lack of transparency when private online companies balance conflicting rights.


Balancing has swiftly emerged as the dominant discursive practice for reacting to conflicts of competing fundamental rights in the digital dimension. A discursive practice of stakeholders, endorsed by international courts and legislators and occasionally by academics, by itself is not sufficient to conclude that balancing is justifiable from ontic or epistemic perspectives. Without such justifications balancing cannot claim correctness in the digital dimension of the modern society, as the arguments which have been raised against balancing in the offline dimension – the absence of morality and the impossibility to avoid arbitrariness – can easily lead to the rejection of balancing as a universal tool applicable in horizontal Internet relationships and having the potential to bring some element of order into the predominantly existentialist online realm. Such discursive practice may have developed independently from any theoretical considerations, being driven primarily by the political understanding of the need to provide a rational tool against abuses of fundamental rights in the Internet, or, even more pragmatically, to provide a shield for private online companies against the claims that they are not concerned with the matter of fundamental rights protection. This article will explore the question of ontic and epistemic justifiability of balancing in the Internet in horizontal relationships by private online companies, and thereafter propose a mathematical formula for balancing conflicting fundamental rights in the digital dimension. This article will demonstrate that such formula, named the Internet Balancing Formula, contains certain ontic and epistemic elements which minimize the strength of arguments usually raised against balancing as a general generic fundamental rights concept or balancing by private entities in the Internet in particular. Therefore, this Internet Balancing Formula has the potential to decisively and globally influence the discursive practice of balancing in the Internet, primarily raising confidence in private balancing by providing a tool to claim correctness. The article will claim that the Internet Balancing Formula will increase the rational element of balancing online.

Time:  Wednesday 2 May 2018, 13:00-14:30

Meeting room 8, 4th floor, room 6B-4-04, Njalsgade 76, DK-2300 Copenhagen S


For participation in the event please use this registration form no later than Wednesday 2 May 2018 11:00.