ECePS - ERA Chair in E-Governance and Digital Public Services

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ECePS kodulehekülg.

ECePS is a 5-year project funded by the EU to raise the research excellence and profile of the University of Tartu in addressing three questions:

• How to harness the benefits of digital transformation of government while minimizing the associated risks and ensuring security, privacy and equal access?

• How can obstacles that prevent governments from implementing e-governance systems be overcome?

• How can researchers and practitioners best utilize the vast amounts of data that is already being generated throughout the world (via existing public e-services)?

ECePS will do so by:

• Applying predictive analytics to existing e-governance systems to suggest improvements to evidence-based policymaking;

• Examining how e-governance data can be utilized to test the effect of specific policies on behavior in real time and not through ex-post impact evaluations;

• Identifying how real-time analysis of in-motion big data can be done while protecting citizens’ privacy and security;

• Examining the impact of e-participation in democratic systems;

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 52
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    Electronic Voting: 7th International Joint Conference, E-Vote-ID 2022 Bregenz, Austria, October 4–7, 2022 Proceedings
    (Springer International Publishing, 2022) Krimmer, Robert; Volkamer, Melanie; Duenas-Cid, David; Rønne, Peter; Germann, Micha
    This volume contains papers presented at E-Vote-ID 2022, the Seventh International Joint Conference on Electronic Voting, held during October 4–7, 2022. This was the first in-person conference following the COVID-19 pandemic, and, as such, it was a very special event for the community since we returned to the traditional venue in Bregenz, Austria. The E-Vote-ID conference resulted from merging EVOTE and Vote-ID, and 18 years have now elapsed since the first EVOTE conference in Austria. Since that conference in 2004, over 1500 experts have attended the venue, including scholars, practitioners, authorities, electoral managers, vendors, and PhD students. E-Vote-ID collects the most relevant debates on the development of electronic voting, from aspects relating to security and usability through to practical experiences and applications of voting systems, also including legal, social, or political aspects, amongst others, turning out to be an important global referent on these issues.
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    Electronic Voting: 6th International Joint Conference, E-Vote-ID 2021, virtual event, October 5-8, 2021
    (Springer Cham, 2021-09-28) Krimmer, Robert; Volkamer, Melanie; Duenas-Cid, David; Kulyk, Oksana; Rønne, Peter; Solvak, Mihkel; Germann, Micha
    This book constitutes the proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Electronic Voting, E-Vote-ID 2021, held online -due to COVID -19- in Bregenz, Austria, in October 2021. The 14 full papers presented were carefully reviewed and selected from 55 submissions. The conference collected the most relevant debates on the development of Electronic Voting, from aspects relating to security and usability through to practical experiences and applications of voting systems, as well as legal, social or political aspects.
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    How to Make an Entrepreneurial State: Why Innovation Needs Bureaucracy
    (Taylor & Francis, 2023-02-02) Homburg, Vincent
    In their book “How to Make an Entrepreneurial State”, the academic nuclear family Kattel – Drechsler – Karo (Kattel was Drechsler’s first PhD student, and Karo was Kattel’s first PhD student, and all authors have roots in Estonia, a country that brands itself as a ‘start up nation’) elaborates the idea that for technological innovations to flourish, there is a need for innovation bureaucracies such as public research institutions, business incubators, and regulators. The book moves beyond the question how innovation policy should look like. Rather, it promises to address the question how governments develop capacities and skills to enable and promote innovation.
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    Data-Driven Personalized E-Government Services: Literature Review and Case Study
    (Springer International Publishing, 2021-09-07) Maksimova, Mariia; Solvak, Mihkel; Krimmer, Robert
    Better targeted and more personalized service offering to citizens has the potential to make state-citizen interactions more seamless, reduce inefficiencies in service provision, and lower barriers to service access for the less informed and disadvantaged social groups. What constitutes personalization and how the service offering can be customized to meet individual user demand is, however, much less clear and underdeveloped partially due to the technical and legal dependencies involved. The paper gives an overview of how personalization and customization of digital service offering have been discussed in the literature and systematizes the main strand emerging from this. It follows up with a case study of the Estonian X-road log data as one potential way to detect latent user demand emerging from an experienced life-event that could form a basis for letting users define their service needs as holistically as possible. The results show the existence of distinct service usage clusters, with specific user profiles behind them, a clear indication of latent demand that leads to a simultaneous consumption of otherwise independent digital services.
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    The Proceedings of the 23rd Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research (DGO2022) Intelligent Technologies, Governments and Citizens June 15-17, 2022
    (Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2022-09-14) Loni Hagen; Mihkel Solvak; Sungsoo Hwang
    The 23rd Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research theme is “Intelligent Technologies, Governments and Citizens”. Data and computational algorithms make systems smarter, but should result in smarter government and citizens. Intelligence and smartness affect all kinds of public values - such as fairness, inclusion, equity, transparency, privacy, security, trust, etc., and is not well-understood. These technologies provide immense opportunities and should be used in the light of public values. Society and technology co-evolve and we are looking for new ways to balance between them. Specifically, the conference aims to advance research and practice in this field. The keynotes, presentations, posters and workshops show that the conference theme is very well-chosen and more actual than ever. The challenges posed by new technology have underscored the need to grasp the potential. Digital government brings into focus the realization of public values to improve our society at all levels of government. The conference again shows the importance of the digital government society, which brings together scholars in this field. Dg.o 2022 is fully online and enables to connect to scholars and practitioners around the globe and facilitate global conversations and exchanges via the use of digital technologies. This conference is primarily a live conference for full engagement, keynotes, presentations of research papers, workshops, panels and posters and provides engaging exchange throughout the entire duration of the conference.
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    Automated impact assessment - How digitizing government enables rapid and tailor-made policy responses
    (Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2022-09-14) Maksimova, Mariia; Alishani, Art; Solvak, Mihkel; Krimmer, Robert
    As interest in the digital transformation of public administration grows, the main challenge remains to improve government governance systems and integrate a wider range of evidence into decisionmaking processes. The successful digitalization and application of such approaches improves the quality, responsiveness and flexibility of public administrations. The digialtization of processes has made it possible to use micro-level data to assess the impact of a policy or program and apply the feedback to improve the design and delivery of public services. Evidence-based policy-making evaluates programs based on their visible impacts. Large-scale data collected through digitized governance, coupled with econometric impact assessment, provides an ideal working toolkit for this. However, the current situation of European governments is one of slow adoption, as they are often slow to respond to new challenges. This is due to the static one-off impact assessment approaches used, the results of which quickly become outdated. With further digitalization, improvement of systems, and a rapidly changing situation, there is a need to speed up institutions’ ability to quickly draw working solutions to offset the effects of unexpected events in society and economy and react without delays if policy effects dissipate. This paper demonstrates how a high level of digitalization in government allows addressing such issues by automating causal impact assessment and making it a continuous part of the service delivery. The use case is an automated system for assessing active labour market policies in Estonia using individual-level data from government digital registers. Building on this, it shows how impact assessment automation depends on automatically generated data, only available due to the digitalization of other public services, and how versatile it is when it comes to proving casual evidence in a suddenly changing environment.
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    Digital Sovereignty and Participation in an Autocratic State: Designing an e-Petition System for Developing Countries
    (Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2021-06-09) Lips, Silvia; Ahmed, Rozha K.; Khayyam, Zulfigarzada; Krimmer, Robert; Draheim, Dirk
    Establishing a sustainable citizens-government dialogue is a crucial topic on the agenda of many countries. E-petition systems are among the most popular and effective tools for establishing a responsive and effective dialog between governments and citizens. E-petition systems mitigate the gap between citizens and government authorities and contribute to the empowerment of citizens. This study aims to determine how to increase citizens’ participation in decision-making processes through the case of an e-petition system in Azerbaijan. The research employs a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods within a case study design. Data were collected from a triangulation of multiple sources, i.e., interviews with state authorities and online survey among the citizens of Azerbaijan. Additionally, we reviewed experiences from other countries that introduced e-petition systems, in order to better understand the success factors of and obstacles to launching e-petition systems, with a particular focus on the needs of developing countries. The outcome of this study is a proposed design of an e-petition system model that can be considered in developing countries.
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    Global Intelligent Governance—A Collaborative Platform
    (Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2021-06-09) Ahn, Michael; Chen, Yu-Che; Ganapati, Sukumar; Krimmer, Robert; Viale Pereira, Gabriela; Pliscoff, Cristian; Tseng, Hsien-Lee; Wu, Jiannan
    The purpose of this panel on “Global Intelligent Governance—A Collaborative Platform (GIG-CP)” is to discuss the feasibility and need for developing a collaborative platform to facilitate a global network-to-network collaboration of research in intelligent governance (IG). The discussion could provide a guide to establish the platform which will enable collaboration among international research networks. The platform will facilitate establishing common protocols for sharing high quality and high value open data. It would transform data-driven public engagement in collaborative decision making processes. There are three aims of the project: (i) to facilitate the development of research network collaboration; (ii) to enable the design of a global data hub, and (iii) to examine the IG skills required for the future workforce.
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    Building Global Societies on Collective Intelligence: Challenges and Opportunities
    (Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2022-10-14) Suran, Shweta; Pattanaik, Vishwajeet; Kurvers, Ralf; Hallin, Carina Antonia; De Liddo, Anna; Krimmer, Robert; Draheim, Dirk
    Digital disruptions caused by the use of technologies like social media arguably present a formidable challenge to democratic values and in turn to Collective Intelligence. Challenges such as misinformation, partisan bias, polarization, and rising mistrust in institutions (including mainstream media), present a new constant threat to collectives both online and offline—amplifying the risk of turning ‘wise’ crowds ‘mad’, and rendering their actions counterproductive. Considering the increasingly important role crowds play in solving today’s socio-political, technological, and economical issues, and in shaping our future, it is vital to protect crowd-oriented systems against such disruptions. In this commentary, we identify time-critical challenges and potential solutions from emerging work on diversity, transparency, collective dynamics, and machine behavior, that require urgent attention, if future CI systems are to sustain their indispensable role as global deliberation instruments.
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    Institutional Trust and Social Media Use in Citizen-State Relations: Results from an international cross country vignette study
    (Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2022) Homburg, Vincent
    The objective of this article is to identify whether trust affects citizens’ use of social media to initiate conversations with government on social media platforms. Using a vignette survey, we gathered data from the Canada, Greece, the Netherlands and Paraguay. Multivariate analysis showed that controlling for demographics and individual-level adoption factors, trust in government does not impact citizens’ use of social media to initiate conversations about public issues, but trust in social media business and organizational infrastructure is (both in democratic countries as well as in flawed democracies). These results highlight how trust in institutions affect citizens’ engagement and digital participation, and identifies conditions under which social media platforms may contribute to a vibrant democracy.
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    E-Vote-ID 2022
    (2022-10) Krimmer, Robert; Volkamer, Melanie; Duenas-Cid, David; Budurushi, Jurlind; Germann, Micha; Glondu, Stéphane; Hofer,Thomas; Krivonosova, Iuliia; Martin-Rozumilowicz, Beata; Rønne, Peter; Zollinger, Marie-Laure
    This volume contains papers presented at E-Vote-ID 2022, the Seventh International JointConference on Electronic Voting, held during October 4–7, 2022. This was the first in-personconference following the COVID-19 pandemic, and, as such, it was a very special event forthe community since we returned to the traditional venue in Bregenz, Austria. The E-Vote-IDconference resulted from merging EVOTE and Vote-ID, and 18 years have now elapsed sincethe first EVOTE conference in Austria.Since that conference in 2004, over 1500 experts have attended the venue, including scholars,practitioners, authorities, electoral managers, vendors, and PhD students. E-Vote-ID collectsthe most relevant debates on the development of electronic voting, from aspects relating tosecurity and usability through to practical experiences and applications of voting systems, alsoincluding legal, social, or political aspects, amongst others, turning out to be an importantglobal referent on these issues.
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    E-Voting Wasm Cryptography
    (2022) Ruescas, David; Robles, Eduardo
    The Sequent Voting Platform is an open-source E2EV internet voting system currently used in private organisations and non-legally binding elections of public organisations. The system employs standard cryptographic techniques following in the steps of well-established voting schemes proposed in the academic literature. We demo core cryptographic components that are being developed for the next generation of Sequent's platform. The main novelty demonstrated is the execution of (heavyweight) cryptographic operations in the browser, in a performant way. Potential applications of this technique are listed and possible bene ts for security, privacy and veri ability are suggested.
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    Electis.app White Paper
    (2022) Mentré, Gilles; Mignot, Thomas; Nouyrigat, Franck; Melcher, Lena
    The Electis voting App (Electis.app) is a web application built using Django and ElectionGuard SDK). The latter comes with homomorphic encryption and end-to-end verifiable proof of ballots and tally (initially designed for US election machines. In addition, Electis.app relies on the Tezos blockchain to generate proof of the election via a smart contract. Finally, it uses IPFS decentralized storage to share the proof and ballots with voters to allow them to verify the election was not violated. This document dives into the overall architecture of the e-voting platform and discusses the application'sapplication's key features and how the election is decentralized.
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    The highly secure anonymous e-voting system of the Czech Pirate Party
    (2022) Martínek, Tomáš; Forýtek, Lukáš
    The article describes the open-source e-voting system of the Czech Pirate Party including the applications, their modifications and interconnection. Overall, it provides an insight into the highly credible, secure and anonymous voting system used for intra-party direct democracy by the Czech governing party.
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    Is the JCJ voting system really coercion-resistant?
    (2022) Cortier, Veronique; Gaudry, Pierrick; Yang, Quentin
    Coercion-resistance is a security property of electronic voting, often considered as a must-have for high-stake elections. The JCJ voting scheme, proposed in 2005, is still the reference when designing a coercion-resistant protocol. We highlight a weakness in JCJ that is also present in all the systems following its general structure. It comes from the procedure that precedes the tally, where the trustees remove the ballots that should not be counted. This phase leaks more information than necessary, leading to potential threats for the coerced voters. Fixing this leads to the notion of cleansing-hiding, that we apply to form a variant of JCJ that we call CHide.
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    Impact of Technological Factor on Cloud Computing adoption for Electoral Data Management in Nigeria; a mediating effect of Environmental factor
    (2022) Udoma, Abigail
    This study was carried out to ascertain the impact of technological factor on the adoption of cloud computing for electoral data management in Nigeria with consideration to the mediating impact of environmental factors. This study adopted inferential research design Three important stakeholders were engaged as target participants which included members of the general public who are of voting age (18 years and above), members of civil society organizations (CSOs) engaged in election monitoring; and INEC personnel. The study's data collection was through questionnaire and then analysed with the Structural equation model (SEM) AMOS of the SPSS. The results revealed that Technological factors significantly and positively affect cloud-based computing adoption in Nigeria electoral system, and that environmental factor partially, positively and significantly mediate in the relationship between Technological factors and cloud-based computing adoption in Nigeria electoral system, it was then concluded, among others, that an increase in the technological factors of cloud computing such as security, privacy, reliability and desirability would result to significant increase in the chances of adoption of the cloud computing technology, it was therefore recommended among others, that cloud computing service provider should ensure the security, reliability and desirability values of their services are maintained and constantly improved as such would increase the chances of government agencies like INEC demanding and adopting their services.
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    Code Voting for Swiss Internet Voting
    (2022) Moser, Florian
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    SoK: Secure E-voting with Everlasting Privacy
    (2022) Mosaheb, Rafieh
    In this work, we systematically analyze all e-voting protocols designed to provide everlasting privacy. Our main focus is to illustrate their relations and to identify the research problems which have or have not been solved in this area.
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    Moving Forward by Looking Back: Learning From Unsuccessful E-voting Projects in Europe
    (2022) Fel, Leo
    Unsuccessful e-voting projects are more common than successful ones, yet they are underrepresented in the e-voting literature. Therefore, an inter-disciplinary research proposal is offered to highlight the importance of failed e-voting endeavours by investigating the causes and consequences of failure. Be-sides answering why European e-voting projects are prone to fail rather than suc-ceed, special attention is paid to the impact of that kind of outcome on future e-voting initiatives and to the examination of the state-of-the-art e-voting solutions and experiences that may overcome detected failures in the future. Towards that end, four case studies (Germany, Netherlands, Norway, UK) will be conducted to uncover context-specific and common failure sources. Ultimately, underlining the project's policy dimension, recommendations for policymakers will be for-mulated to improve the process of e-voting evaluation and implementation.