Date of Award

Spring 2019

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts


Political Science


Joan D. Davison

Committee Member

Dan Chong

Committee Member

Daniel Myers


The internet and digital technologies allow for the recognition, advocation, and protection of human rights. People around the world have access to faster and exponentially more information than ever before. The possibilities for education, politics, healthcare, work, and equality have greatly expanded. The internet provides new opportunities for the progression of humanity, but not without a cost. The transformative power of the internet to both empower and infringe on human rights has not been lost on states. As a relatively new domain, the policies in cyberspace remain in their trial periods. Each state is implementing, redacting, and implementing again policies affecting their citizens’ rights in order to strike a balance between national security and collective and individual rights. Several influential leaders in cyberspace have emerged for different reasons: the United States, Russia, China, and Germany. Each state places various degrees of emphasis on human rights affected by the internet. On one end of the spectrum, Germany aims to protect its citizens’ data and privacy, while on the opposite end China enforces stringent censorship. The goal of this thesis is to provide a comparative analysis of the state of digital rights in these four states across the human rights spectrum in order to help predict the causalities, obstacles, and potential directions of the dissemination of digital rights norms.

Rights Holder

Karina Barbesino