Connected but Still Excluded? Digital Exclusion beyond Internet Access

In Ienca, M.; Pollicino, O.; Liguori, L.; Stefanini, E. & Andorno, R. (Eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Life Sciences, Informative Technology and Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2021, Forthcoming)

University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper Forthcoming

31 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2020

See all articles by Sofia Ranchordas

Sofia Ranchordas

University of Groningen, Faculty of Law; Yale Law School - Information Society Project

Date Written: August 17, 2020

Abstract

Digital government has digitized numerous public services, automated decision-making, and improved the openness of the public administration. Nevertheless, for senior citizens, undeserved communities, individuals with low literacy and limited digital skills, the shift to governmental portals, online payments, and smartphone applications are considerable obstacles in their daily interactions with public authorities. This chapter argues that digital inequality denies vulnerable citizens their rights twice: first, their ethnicity and socioeconomic status may be conducive to a ‘negative’ ranking or score (e.g., higher risk of welfare fraud); and second, they are also excluded because they do not have adequate access to technology, are not well informed, and do not have the time and skills required to interact with digital government. This chapter explores one of the paradoxes of the digital society: connected citizens in developed countries are also affected by the digital divide and are increasingly being excluded by the generalized digitalization of public services. Drawing on a review of interdisciplinary literature, this chapter contributes to the legal literature with an account of the underlying causes of digital exclusion and a discussion of its most relevant legal implications through the lenses of fundamental rights (e.g., due process, equal treatment) and the principles of good administration. This chapter reflects on potential solutions for more inclusive digital government policies.

Keywords: digital inequality, digital exclusion, e-government, digital government, big data, automated decision-making, discrimination, public law, algorithms, good administration, unequal treatment, administrative law

JEL Classification: K10; K2; K00; K1

Suggested Citation

Ranchordas, Sofia, Connected but Still Excluded? Digital Exclusion beyond Internet Access (August 17, 2020). In Ienca, M.; Pollicino, O.; Liguori, L.; Stefanini, E. & Andorno, R. (Eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Life Sciences, Informative Technology and Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2021, Forthcoming), University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3675360 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3675360

Sofia Ranchordas (Contact Author)

University of Groningen, Faculty of Law ( email )

Oude Kijk in 't Straat
Harmoniecomplex
9700 AS Groningen, Gn 9712
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.rug.nl/staff/s.h.ranchordas/

Yale Law School - Information Society Project ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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