Covid-19 laid bare the vulnerability of brick-and-mortar service provision and renewed global pledges to prioritise e-government. The touted benefits include better accessibility, transparency and efficiency. This resonates strongly in societies where the pandemic has exacerbated low levels of trust in government. Estonia—where 99% of government services are available online, including voting—holds first place in the United Nations E-Government Development Index. What has the country’s experience been, especially regarding voter fraud and election-rigging? In January 2020 Microsoft announced it would open a “representation to the UN”, but has Big Tech proved itself able to work effectively with politicians? Are privacy and security concerns the biggest barriers to e-government? And how can inefficient bureaucracy be modernised without losing the human touch?
- Jan Neutze, senior director, digital diplomacy; head, cybersecurity and democracy, Microsoft
- Vincenzo Aquaro, chief, digital government, United Nations
- Siim Siikut, government CIO, Estonia
- Sheila Nix, American attorney and political strategist
- Moderator: Kenn Cukier, senior editor, The Economist