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Abstract Deadline: September 30, 2019    |    Final Paper Deadline: February 28, 2020

Ethics and Digital Governance

The promise of digital governance is that it can create new modes of connections between state and society, as well as state and market. The intensive use of information and communication technologies – ICT in governments has been presented to increase service delivery capacity, a promise of institutional improvement and a means for governments to achieve greater effectiveness and impact. It is still a promise to be fulfilled.

Promises of institutional improvement such as digital public services, different modes of e-participation - electronic voting, virtual public hearings, use of technology wiki, use of artificial intelligence, internet of things and big data to formulate and monitor policies require robust organizational changes. Digital governance has the potential to transfer time consuming procedures from bureaucracy to digital media and would have greater impact on the effectiveness of public service, added to more impartiality and increased transparency, accountability and compliance of public organizations.

Information and communication technologies nevertheless play a disruptive role for state bureaucracies and alter the relationship between the state and society. In this way, the digital age provides context of change in governance structures, bringing a series of challenges.  The promise of digital governance has disruptive potential for the functioning of governments and institutions. And this disruptive potential has an ethical challenge. The application of digital technologies makes it possible to transform governments, but at the same time promotes selection biases in processes, extends surveillance to citizens, breaks essential elements of privacy, influences electoral processes and supports authoritarian changes. Digital divide is still a problem that challenges governance structures. Internet access is still not universal, and it potentially excludes individuals from the provision of public services and public goods and benefits. In structures with digital public services, digital divide can produce exclusion of significant portions of the society.

Artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of things have enormous potential to contribute to the process of evidence-based policymaking and sustainable knowledge about society. However, the use of these technologies by governments has been authoritarian and ambiguous, as there are no clear regulatory instruments regarding data protection and privacy protection and they can be used to build very effective surveillance mechanisms. Systems integration and data collection of citizens and businesses have provided governments with centralized full access of individual information, which weakens digital governance. The presence of massive data amplifies the possibility of surveillance and misuse of data as well as the eventual manipulation of public opinion and will through the use of social networks.

Manuscripts focused on ethics and artificial intelligence, internet of things, digitizing of public services, digital democracy are especially welcomed, and they can be theoretical, analytical, and empirical with sound scholarship. Topics of particular interest include big data and the use of citizen and business data; algorithm ethics; privacy and publicity of personal data; surveillance and internet of things; digital divide and digital governance issues.

Submission Guidelines

Interested scholars are cordially invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words by September 30, 2019. The Abstracts should clearly and briefly present : (1) a descriptive title; (2) a problem statement; (3) a sound conceptualization with theoretical grounding; (4) a purpose statement; (5) the ‘originality’ and significance of the paper; (6) a brief methodology (sources of data, tools and methods of analysis, etc.); and (7) potential contributions to knowledge. 

This Special Issue Symposium on Ethics and Digital Governance will be published in 2020. All manuscripts selected will go through rigorous triple blind-reviews. Fully completed manuscripts of accepted abstracts will be due by February 28, 2020. The completed papers should not exceed 6000 words, inclusive of all tables, figures, and charts. APA is the style with the third person writing style required, visit Public Integrity's Instructions for Authors site for further details. 

All abstracts and manuscripts should be submitted to the SI Guest Editor (s) of Public Integrity, Professors Fernando Filgueiras, at the National School of Public Administration and Virgilio Almeida, at Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University.

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Special Issue Editors

Fernando Filgueiras

Fernando Filgueiras obtained his PH.D. in Political Science at the University Research Institute of Rio de Janeiro (Iuperj). Director of Rese­arch and Graduate Studies of the National School of Public Administration (Enap), Brazil. Professor in the Professional Master in Governance and Development at National School of Public Administration.

Associate Professor, De­partment of Political Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil. Fernando was coordinator of the Center for the Public Interest at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

Researcher of the National Institute of Science and Technology (INCT) - Digital Democracy, Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). Researcher of the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo (USP).

His research interests encompass governance, digital governance, political corruption, and bureaucracy and public policy.

Email Fernando

Special Issue Editors

Virgílio Almeida

Virgilio obtained his PhD degree in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, a Master's degree in computer science at PUC-Rio and a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). He held visiting positions in several universities and research labs, such as Harvard University (School of Engineering and Applied Sciences), New York University, Boston University, Santa Fe Institute HP Labs.

Virgilio was the National Secretary for Information Technology Policies of the Brazilian government from 2011 to 2015. He was the chair of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) from 2011-2016. He was also the chair of NETmundial, the Global Multistakeholder Conference on the Future of Internet Governance, that was held in Sao Paulo in 2014. Virgilio is currently one of the commissioners of the Global Commission for the Stability of Cyberspace (cyberstability.org/).

His research interests are focused on social computing, ethics and governance of algorithms, modeling and analysis of large scale distributed systems. Professor Virgilio is the co-author of five books dealing with Web technologies, e-commerce, performance modeling and capacity planning, published by Prentice Hall.

Email Virgilio

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