Protecting Dignity in Virtual Space

Author:Ana Alina Ionescu Dumitrache, Océane Rivoire
The Youth of Today - The Generation of the Global Development
The Youth of Today - The Generation of the Global
Protecting Dignity in Virtual Space
Ana Alina Ionescu Dumitrache1, Océane Rivoire2
Abstract: Human dignity is a fundamental right protected by national, regional and international law. This
research is about the ways of protecting this right in the particular space of virtual li fe, space which became
more and more conductive to abuses of dignity. Human dignity in the digital age is being contested very openly
today, and the Universal declaration of Human Rights (1948) must update every time because of new ways of
abuses. This research is mostly based on cases studies of the European Court of Human Rights, so as to highlight
that the more someone expose his/her life on the Internet, the more he/she will be at grave risk for his/her
dignity because of a lack of protection. Finally, this research argues that no wadays, in a cyber-time like our,
protection of dignity becomes a fundamental issue to deal with.
Keywords: human dignity; cyberspace; protection of human rights; dignity abuses
1. Introduction
The idea of human dignity dates back to Ciceron: it’s the public recognition of a social status and
something intrinsic within human being. In legal domain, this notion appears, mostly, in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (1948). There is, and it’s a fact, a difference between “explain” (from
outside) and “understand” (from inside). If dignity is doubtless hard to define and explain, we can
however understand it, in the way of visualizing it or perceiving the intended meaning of it. Therefore,
dignity seems to be a relational reality we need to experiment, i.e., life from the inside, to understand it.
If someone is alone, without anyone in front of him/her, it would be hard for this person to feel what
dignity is, both his/her and other’s one. Thus, dignity is understandable without needing a preliminary
explanation, without needing an instruction booklet. But another question needs to be asked: do we need
to be reasonable to be worthy? If so, what about human beings we consider as monsters: Hitler, Saddam
Hussein. This said, we must outline that human dignity is an end, and not a means.
In this study, we first aimed to raise the important issue of protecting dignity, i.e. understand why our
dignity is so important, and how people can be ensure that their dignity is protected. Then, we focused
on dignity in virtual space, this new connected world in which people can be anonymous (or they think
so), and we asked ourselves how, in a legal term, can dignity be protected in this specific space?
1Coordinator, Senior Lecturer, PhD, Faculty of Law, Danubius University of Galati, Romania, Address: 3 Galati Blvd., Galati
800654, Romania, Tel.: +40372361102, Corresponding author:
2 Erasmus Student, Jean Monnet University of Saint-Etienne, France, E-mail:

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