Democracy in the 21st century: the impact of ICT

Linnar Viik en Mireille Hildebrandt

On the one hand, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has the potential to enable direct democracy and non-traditional forms of advocacy and citizen participation. On the other hand, ICT could be powerful enough to disrupt our democracy. Keeping in mind that 20% of the tweets during the French electoral campaign contained incorrect information, it becomes increasingly important to think of how ICT can further enhance democracy whilst avoiding the spread of fake news or other types of misuse.

Has online democracy already become the new normal? To what extent can social media, microtargeting by political parties or the spread of fake news disrupt our democracy? How do we know what information is reliable? What are the biggest success stories so far and what are foreseeable threats of a digital transformation?

On Thursday 13 September, 2018, two experts shed light on these questions. IT visionary Linnar Viik i shared his own experiences with online democracy. He is responsible for the implementation of e-governance in Estonia, the only country where 99% of the public services - including voting - is now online accessible. Professor of Smart Environments, Data Protection and the Rule of Law, Mireille Hildebrandt, approached the topic by looking at both technical challenges and societal dilemmas. Professor for Media and Society, Rens Vliegenthart i, moderated the closing debate between the two experts.




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Photographer: Kevin Bergenhenegouwen / PDC



TitleDemocracy in the 21st century: the impact of ICT
Speaker(s)Myriam van Dorp, Linnar Viik, Mireille Hildebrandt en Rens Vliegenthart (debatleider)
Duration1 uur, 39 minuten en 8 seconden

Download the presentation of Mireille Hildebrandt.


Background information

This year the Europe Lecture was organized in cooperation with the ‘MontesquieuPrinsjeslezing’, under the umbrella of the Prinsjesfestival.

The Prinsjesfestival Foundation organises a yearly recurring event in celebration of democracy, in cooperation with a great amount of other organisations. The festival is held in the same week of Prince's Day and offers a programme full of festive and informative activities. Each year has a specific theme. The theme of 2017 was 'Time to find each other; polarisation - pacification 1917-2017'. The theme of this year's festival was 'Democracy: From us! For us! By us?! To watch or participate in our democracy'.

The Europe Lecture Foundation regularly organises a lecture about the meaning of Europe from a socio-economic, political or cultural perspective. In 1993, Jacques Attali kicked off the first Europe Lecture. From that point onwards, many inspiring speakers have maintained that tradition.