How online citizenship is unsettling rights and identities

James Bridle at Open Democracy: “Historically, and for those lucky enough to be born under the aegis of stable governments and national regimes, there have been two ways in which citizenship is acquired at birth. Jus soli – the right of soil – confers citizenship upon those born within the territory of a state regardless of their parentage. This right is common in the Americas, but less so elsewhere (and, since 2004, is to be found nowhere in Europe). More frequently, Jus sanguinis – the right of blood – determines a person’s citizenship based on the rights held by their parents. One might be denied citizenship in the place of one’s birth, but obtain it elsewhere….

One of the places we see traditional notions of the nation state and its methods of organisation and control – particularly the assignation of citizenship – coming under greatest stress is online, in the apparently borderless expanses of the internet, where information and data flow almost without restriction across the boundaries between states. And as our rights and protections are increasingly assigned not to our corporeal bodies but to our digital selves – the accumulations of information which stand as proxies for us in our relationships to states, banks, and corporations – so new forms of citizenship arise at these transnational digital junctions.

Jus algoritmi is a term coined by John Cheney-Lippold to describe a new form of citizenship which is produced by the surveillance state, whose primary mode of operation, like other state forms before it, is control through identification and categorisation. Jus algoritmi – the right of the algorithm – refers to the increasing use of software to make judgements about an individual’s citizenship status, and thus to decide what rights they have, and what operations upon their person are permitted….(More)”.