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GovTechTalks: Online Speaker Series on Digital Government and Society

Organizer: Prof. dr. Sofia Ranchordas

Digital technology has revolutionized the way in which governments provide public services to their citizens. Examples of these shifts include the widespread digitization of public information, the relevance of social media platforms for information dissemination and even for the communication between citizens and public bodies, and the automation of government decision-making.

While many believed that the digitalization of government would be ‘transformational’, the use of digital technology in the public sector has been thus far from unproblematic. In the context of digital government, we have observed that digital government can also be politically tainted, path-dependent and bureaucratic as it still requires citizens to fill in complex forms, comply with burdensome rules and short deadlines. Moreover, the design of digital government assumes—often incorrectly—that citizens are self-reliant, have average literacy and digital skills.

The automation of administrative decision-making in the welfare sector and law enforcement has also raised important ethical and legal questions. At the local level, the development of smart cities with reliance on Big Tech and the lack of regulatory clarity regarding the expansion of digital platforms threaten to put multiple public values under pressure. This online GovTechTalk Series seeks to establish a network of scholars and practitioners interested in the opportunities and challenges posed by the use of digital technology in the public sector.

This online and interdisciplinary talks series will take place twice a month on Thursdays at 12.00 CET. Registration is required and is free. The events will be widely publicized on social media and through different academic networks. Each session will include two invited speakers who will present their research and engage with the audience’s questions.


Seminar 15 April 2021, 12 PM CET:
(Algorithmic) Discrimination in the Platform Economy
Invited Speakers: Ana Maria Correa (lecturer Comparative Law, Université Libre de Bruxelles) and Alba Soriano Arnanz (postdoctoral researcher, University of Valencia)

Seminar 4 March 2021, 12 PM CET:
Digital Government in Denmark. From Legal Clerk to Compliance Advisor
Invited Speakers: Ayo Næsborg-Andersen, PhD, LLM (Associate Professor of Law, University of Southern Denmark) and Hanne Marie Motzfeldt, PhD, LLM (Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law)

Seminar 18 February 2021, 12 PM CET:
Algorithmic Decision-Making
Invited Speakers: Jennifer Cobbe (Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge) and Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius (Professor ICT and Law, Radboud University Nijmegen)

Seminar 10 December 2020, 12 PM CET:
Digital Government in Estonia and The Netherlands: Autonomy in Decision-making and Government Decision-making
Invited Speakers: Helen Eenmaa (University of Tartu, Estonia, and a visiting professor of law at Luiss Guido Carli University, Rome) and Marlies Van Eck (principal consultant at H ooghiemstra & Partners, and assistant professor at Radboud University, Nijmegen)

Seminar 3 December 2020, 12PM CET:
5G, Conspiracy Theories, and Social Media Influencers
Invited Speakers: Volker Stocker (TU Berlin/Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society) & Catalina Goanta (Maastricht University)

Last modified:02 December 2022 12.09 p.m.