Dynamics of Trust and Distrust Creation in Internet Voting
The internet has transformed every aspect of our daily life. While it has created new paths to government services, the internet has not yet been fully implemented in elections for reasons related to citizens’ lack of trust in internet voting technology. The ELECTRUST project will study how trust and distrust are created in relation to internet voting. Specifically, it will explore how constructs shape public discourses around internet voting, using discourse analysis and in-depth interviews to map the emergence of trust and distrust and the elements that sustain them. The findings will shed light on the dynamics of trust and distrust creation that can be further applied to other technologies. Case Studies will be developed in Estonia, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Netherlands, Poland.
Cordis and the EU Commission highlight the Electrust project!
On the occasion of the 2024 European Parliament elections, Cordis published a new Results Pack highlighting 15 Horizon-funded projects exploring the current challenges to democracy, and testing innovative solutions that support better engagement with the democratic process.
The main results of the project ELECTRUST are summarized in the following section -Anxieties over internet voting reflect wider social concerns - and are translated into six different languages. This is a great success!
New Project Publication "Dis/Trust and Data-Driven Technologies"
Participation in the conference "Global Conference: Peaceful and Inclusive Elections in a Digital Age"
Organized by the SELECT project of the UNDP-EU Partnership, the "Global Conference: Peaceful and Inclusive Elections in a Digital Age" gathered a large representation of EMBs and global election experts to discuss aspects about the challenges that digital technologies pose on the development of elections. I was invited to participate in a plenary session on "Future Elections: How Technology and Innovations will Shape Elections".
It was a great pleasure to share the table with such interesting speakers and to learn from their experiences in Peru, South Africa, the Philippines or Kyrgyzstan, and to follow the discussions on other topics related to the impacts of digital life in elections and democracy such as the management of disinformation or the arrival of AI.
It was a pleasure to return to one of my favorite places in Europe, Tallinn, to serve as an Invited speaker at the conference on Trust and Reliability of Internet Voting (link, in Estonian), organized by the Standing Committee on Cybersecurity of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. I had the pleasure of giving a speech on "Trust factors in the use of electoral technologies: Inputs from Australia, The Netherlands and Poland” and participating in a round table on "How do countries develop trust and reliable services?" together with Carsten Schurrman, from the IT University of Copenhagen and Tomáš Rabas, from the Czech Technical University.
Participation at the E-Vote-ID Conference (Luxembourg 2023)
Fruitful participation at the E-Vote-ID conference, where two papers were presented.
- Identifying Factors Studied for Voter Trust in E-Voting – A Literature Review (with Yannick Erb, David Duenas-Cid and Melanie Volkamer), examining which factors potentially influence voter's trust in e-voting and i-voting. A total of around 64 potential factors in five categories, ranging from socio-political to technology-related factors, were identified as potential influences of voter trust.
- Trust Frameworks in Application to Technology in Elections, the cases of Kenya, Poland, The Netherlands and the USA (with David Duenas-Cid, Leontine Loeber, Beata Martin-Rozumilowicz and Ryan Macias), exploring the creation of trust frameworks around the use of electoral technology, going beyond the traditional approach focusing on the election day to expand the trust and distrust sources to other parts/moments of the electoral cycle.
Both will soon be published by the German Informatics Society
Seminar presentation: Electrust and preliminary results
Happy to be the invited guest at the University of New South Wales Business School seminars and to have the occasion to present the theoretical foundations of the project Electrust and the results of the case study conducted in the Netherlands. Nice debate about how traditional paper elections intersect with digital ones and how to isolate the particularities of each type of election.
Invited Speaker: Is "the Digital" transforming the way we trust? The case of Internet Voting.
Invited by the group on Digital Sociology of the Indian Sociological Association to their lecture series. Presenting some theoretical reflections on how the digitization of societies is renewing the interest in the research on trust and how to frame the topic methodologically for approaching the understanding of internet voting. More to come on this promising relationship with the Indian Sociological Association
Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales!
Continuing with the development of the research, this July and August, I will be hosted at the School of Information Systems and Technology Management at the University of New South Wales Business School. It is very exciting to be hosted by Prof. Lemuria Carter, whose research on trust and technology adoption has been a great inspiration for many researchers, and her papers on the Australian i-voting, are a great departing point for my research
During this period, I will be conducting expert interviews and will run a QMethodology experiment (after the approval of the University Ethical Committee, always)
Presenting the theoretical framework and the results of the Dutch Case study
On the occasion of the International Sociological Association, the theoretical frame for the analysis of trust and distrust and the results of the case conducted in the Netherlands have been presented (see). The presentation was followed by a very interesting discussion on the different concepts behind the research, the distinction between confidence and trust (posed by Luhmann), and the use of critical trust (by Giddens). Methods and results are great to discuss, but it is always exciting and challenging to discuss theory, and specialized conferences such as ISA are bringing a great space for it. Thanks!
We expanded the discussion by chairing a session targeting "Digitalization, Democracy and Trust", where great papers were discussed and commented (see). Learning from others wok and perspectives!
Visiting Estonia for the second stage of the fieldwork
This week Electrust comes back to Estonia to conduct the QMethodology experiment with users. The aim is to understand how the different arguments for and against the use of internet voting (gathered during our expert interviews in winter), are organized in the mindset of users. Supported by Bogdan Romanov (University of Tartu), we conducted a QMehodology experiment with 25 voters. From an initial set of 248 statements stemming from the interviews and covering all the possible range of opinions, we reduced the arguments to 36 after four iterations.
MSCA Fellow of the Week!
I am so happy to be nominated MSCA Fellow of the Week for the project ELECTRUST!
Conference presentation of initial results of the Polish Case study
Together with Prof. Dr. Hab. Magdalena Musiał-Karg (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan), we presented the first overview of the results of the case study developed in Poland, where we interviewed relevant stakeholders and experts on internet voting, electoral management, journalists, politicians, informaticians and experts on cybersecurity.
The presentation took place at the International Conference "Europe of the XXI Century" held at Collegium Pollonicum (Słubice, Poland) and raised an interesting debate on research methodology and the hermeneutics of trust as a prerequisite for meaningful research.
New project publication "Technology and democracy: the who and how in decision-making. The cases of Estonia and Catalonia."
This paper focuses on using technology to improve democracy, comparing the cases of Estonia and Catalonia. Both examples are closely related in their use of technology to further democratize the decision-making processes but have opposite starting points. Estonia’s internet voting system is an offshoot of the comprehensive e-governance system developed by the Estonian government. It is meant to make it more convenient for people to vote and, thus, easier for them to participate in elections. In Catalonia, the online participation system Decidim, initially set up in the city of Barcelona, represents a bottom-up project that emerged from the 15 May protests and aims to make the representative democratic system more direct and participatory. In our comparison, we approach both paradigmatic cases from a theoretical reflection on the ideal types of democracy in relation to how decisions are made and by whom. Both projects have evolved and integrated new features that draw them together. First, internet voting can reach wider portions of society and digitally transform Public Administration. Second, online participation platforms increase the potential for collecting citizens’ proposals and enriching discussions. These features make them more like a mixed model, which, in the current model of representative democracy, creates spaces for more direct and deliberative democracy.
Reference: Borge, R., Brugué, J., & Duenas-Cid, D. (2022). Technology and democracy: the who and how in decision-making. The cases of Estonia and Catalonia. Profesional De La información, 31(3). https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2022.may.11
Read it in the journal El Profesional de la Información