Toomas Hendrik Ilves delivering digital democracy public video lectures

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Toomas Hendrik Ilves Source: University of Tartu

Former president of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves is to hold a series of public lectures on digital security and its interface with democracies, through the spring semester.

Ilves was appointed Visiting Professor of Democracy in the Digital Age at the University of Tartu's Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies last December.

The series, entitled "Security, Democracy and the Digital World" consists of four lectures of an hour or so each, in English, each discussing the matter from a different angle, and it will be open to all interested and requires use of the Zoom platform. The first of the lectures has already taken place and is viewable (see below).

The full program is here, while pre-registration is required on Zoom, here.

University of Tartu Professor of E-governance Robert Krimmer, curator of the lecture series, said that: "For democracies, the digital era raises a number of new issues, many of which are related to threats to the fundamental principles of democracy."

Rapid technological developments and emerging possibilities for governance, such as more precise and faster decision-making, and better public services, have brought with them a need for new standards and safeguards on governance and privacy, the university says.

Technological advances and widespread access to technology have also led to unforeseen and radical changes in society, transforming criminal activities and leading to the emergence of hybrid wars and cyber-attacks on governments, organizations, companies and private individuals alike.

The rise of fake news, targeted advertising and weaponizing of social media for political goals are all similarly modern concerns, while, the university says, the future is likely to see global power dynamics transform further, perhaps somewhere in-between China-style "algorithmic authoritarianism" and the U.S'.-style "surveillance capitalism".

Where Europe, with is privacy concerns, will fit into this is another question that needs answering.

The first of Toomas Hendrik Ilves' video lectures, "Societal disruption and political transformation" has already taken place and is available by clicking the video link below.

The remainder take place on March 17, April 14 and May 12. More information is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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