Digital technologies fundamentally transform the way governments work and – as a result – the
relations between citizens and governments. ICTs have opened up an abundance of opportunities
to redesign public policymaking and the interactions with citizens. The introduction and use of
these technologies, however, go beyond mere instrumental changes: they are part of complex
societal processes and raise fundamental legal issues, also pertaining to the rule of law. A growing
use of ICTs, for instance, leads to new vulnerabilities (e.g. identity fraud, personal data abuse,
information security issues) that can harm citizens. If these vulnerabilities are not adequately
addressed, they can negatively impact public confidence and trust in (digital) government.
Moreover, the use of digital technologies can shift the balance of power between government and
citizens, for instance in the case technological surveillance, which raises questions of legitimacy,
accountability and transparency. This course addresses and critically assesses in light of the rule of
law and emerging EU law relevant socio-technological developments related to the use of digital
technologies. It will show how the electronic government is transforming into the information
government, which issues and concerns are raised by these changes, how they pertain to the law.
The course will study in detail the introduction of particular technologies (e.g. biometrics,
databases, electronic identification) by the government and critically analyse them from a sociolegal
point of view.
Blog column (40%)
Peer review of at least 2 blog columns of fellow students (10%)