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 electronic government is transforming into the information government, which issues and concerns are raised by these changes, and how they pertain to the law. The course will study in detail particular developments, such as predictive analytics and surveillance, that have an impact on citizen-government relations and critically analyse them from a socio-legal point of view.
Blog column (40%)
Peer review of at least 2 blog columns of fellow students (10%)