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ETAG Presentation of main findings of the STOA-project on e-democracy e-public, e-participation, e-voting in Europe – prospects and challenges Dr. Bernd.

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Presentation on theme: "ETAG Presentation of main findings of the STOA-project on e-democracy e-public, e-participation, e-voting in Europe – prospects and challenges Dr. Bernd."— Presentation transcript:

1 ETAG Presentation of main findings of the STOA-project on e-democracy e-public, e-participation, e-voting in Europe – prospects and challenges Dr. Bernd Beckert Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Karlsruhe on behalf of the ETAG Consortium EP | AFCO Committee | 19 June 2012

2 ETAG 1.The STOA-project e-democracy 2. Main results e-voting 3. Main results e-public and e-participation Overview

3 ETAG 1. The STOA-project e-democracy European Technology Assessment Group ITAS DBT FCRI ISI IST ITA TC Rathenau ETAG Overall aim: To give decision-makers a realistic and useful account of e-democracys potential in Europe. Fraunhofer ISI ITAS ITA Carried out by the ETAG consortium Involved institutes in this project

4 ETAG 1. The STOA-project e-democracy e-public e-participation e-voting NGOs like Friends of the Earth organise protest, exchange views and documents over the Internet. Examples lets citizens follow the actvities of their MEPs including attendance, voting and activity data (or ECI) Estonian elections of regional, national and European Parliament over the Internet using digital signature cards, PINs and TANs.

5 ETAG 1. The STOA-project E-democracy E-public: E-participation: E-voting: How can the Internet contribute to the development of a genuinely European public sphere? How can e-particiation projects contribute to a more inclusive European policy making? Is the Internet a tool to get more Europeans involved in the European policy process? Is e-voting a realistic means to increase electoral participation and what are prerequisites for implementations on a European level? Main research questions:

6 ETAG 1. The STOA-project E-democracy Project dates and methods used: Project dates: Start in October 2009 with Opinion and end with Final Report in September 2011 (23 months). Main output: State-of-the-art report, 3 working papers, 2 expert workshops incl. documentation and press release, final report. Methods used: Desk-research (literature reviews, secondary data analysis) plus expert interviews and workshops including interactive exchange with interested MEPs and experts in the area of e-democracy.

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9 2. Main results e-voting E-voting : Voting over the Internet, not via voting machines at polling stations. Why is it interesting at all? because of expectations that e-voting may increase participation in elections, because e-voting seems to be the natural consequence of an increased use of the Internet in everyday life (vote between watching Youtube videos and blogging on Facebook). Why is it so strictly rejected by many? because elections are at the heart of the democratic process and e-voting changes the whole process (e-voting not the same as e-business). because there are no absolutely secure systems available today (or in principle).

10 ETAG 2. Main results e-voting No empirical evidence for an increase in electoral participation, e-voting is not a quick-fix for low turnout rates at elections. Instead: E-voters are citicens who would have voted anyway, not new voters. E-voting is not more convenient than traditional voting as it requires digital signatures, PINs and TANs. Currently, systems which are reasonably safe are not user-friendly and existing user-friendly systems are not safe. Main results of the study: What to do? Adopt a wait-and-see-approach: Analyse experiences from e-voting on lower levels (local administrations, party elections etc.), analyse technological developments. Build-up of a European e-voting system is not recommended.

11 ETAG 3. Main results e-public and e-participation The European public sphere is dispersed and largely issue-oriented; the Internet supports these rather fluid structures. Although technically possible, the Internet does not generate a general European public sphere which could transpose the national public spheres. The sole existence of e-participation platforms is not enough to motivate people to get involved. Instead: People using e-participation would have engaged in any case, no new politically active masses (apart from some age effects). Main results of the study: What to do? Adopt a learn-from-experiences-approach: Analyse successful e-participation projects (citizens budgets, planning of large projects), take future effects of the European Citizen´s Initiative into account. Open up European policy processes for participation if you really want e-participation to work (principal question).

12 ETAG 3. Main results e-public and e-participation Bring together top-down and bottom-up initiatives of e-participation Reconsider the role of national and regional levels Increase the visibility of e-participation offerings Use the European Citizens´ Initiative as a window of opportunity More detailed recommendations concerning e-participation:

13 ETAG Early claims that Internet will fundamentally change democratic politics… 2. e-democracy: the long view Today, we have a more realistic assessment of Internet´s effects on democracy. Not the technology, but politicians are now to decide how open, transparent and responsive they want the policy process to be. Were disappointed and it turned out that there is no technological quick-fix for more participation… Internet has changed attitudes and expectations – also concerning the policy process. People want it to be open, transparent, more accessible, more participatory, more convenient, etc.

14 ETAG Project leader Dr. Bernd Beckert Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI Breslauer Straße 48 | D Karlsruhe Ph. +49 (0) 721 / Project consortium: Bernd Beckert, Kerstin Goos, Ralf Lindner (Fraunhofer ISI, Karlsruhe) Leonhard Hennen (ITAS, Karlsruhe) Georg Aichholzer, Stefan Strauß (ITA, Vienna) Contact Details European Technology Assessment Group ITAS DBT FCRI ISI IST ITA TC Rathenau ETAG


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