The Digitalization of Government and Digital Exclusion: Setting the Scene
forthcoming in Ferreira Mendes, G. & Blanco de Morais, C. (eds.).Direito Publico e Internet: Democracia, Redes Sociais e Regulação do Ciberespaço FGV Publicacoes/IDP/ Univ. Lisboa, (Public Governance 4.0, 2020).
32 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2020 Last revised: 23 Jun 2021
Date Written: April 29, 2020
Governments in both developed and developing countries have made in the past decades significant investments in the digitalization of public services. E-government and digital-government tools have the potential to deliver significant savings and optimize the delivery of public services. Nevertheless, even in developed countries, there are still citizens who do not have equal access to digital technology or are not competent users. Filing taxes or applying for social welfare benefits online are far from obvious tasks for many citizens throughout the world. The digitization-by-default of public services is currently leaving many individuals behind. As new digital divides emerge, digital inequality is not only reproducing longstanding socioeconomic inequalities but it is also placing itself as a standalone source of exclusion. While there is abundant humanities literature on the digital divide and digital citizenship, recent legal scholarship has overlooked the legal implications of the unequal access and usage of digital government. This exploratory paper discusses the legal implications of current policies and principles of digital government for the digital exclusion of citizens. It argues that digital exclusion may amount to the unequal treatment of citizens and it offers a preliminary discussion of more inclusive approaches to digital government.
Keywords: digital government, digital exclusion, digital divide, digital literacy, unequal treatment, e-government,administrative law, regulation, digital technology, automation, AI
JEL Classification: K23, K19, K20, K2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation