E-democracy: opportunities and risks 15.03.2017, written by Łukasz Bejm
Eight out of 10 Europeans used internet at least once a week last year, according to Eurostat. But although the internet has become a part of everyday life, it is still not being fully used to boost democracy. On 16 March MEPs adopted a report stressing that new information technologies offer great opportunities to involve people more in the democratic process.
The report by Spanish S&D member Ramón Jáuregui Atondo’s was approved with 459 votes for, 53 against and 47 abstentions.
Different approaches across Europe
European countries have so far had very different approaches to the opportunities offered by e-democracy, depending on how concerned they are about the risk of hacking.
The Dutch government, referring to the possibility of hacking, announced that all casted votes will be counted manually for the general elections taking place last Wednesday. Until 2007, voting machines where used in Netherlands at the polling stations but it was then proved that these machines could be easily manipulated and since then e-voting is banned in the country.
France has allowed e-voting in legislative elections for its citizens abroad since 2012 but dropped the possibility this year, citing cybersecurity fears. France’s legislative elections take place in June.
In Estonia legally binding remote e-voting for local, national and EU elections has been carried out eight times since 2005. So far, no hacking has been reported.