Public lectures by President Ilves at the University of Tartu focus on threats to democracy in the digital era

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Visiting Professor of Democracy in the Digital Age at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies of the University of Tartu, will be giving four public lectures on “Security, Democracy and the Digital World” in the spring semester 2021.

This century has seen rapid technological developments and emerging possibilities for governance, such as more precise and faster decision-making and better public services.

“For democracies the digital era raises a number of new issues, many of which are related to threats to the fundamental principles of democracy,” Professor of E-governance Robert Krimmer explained the need for dealing with these topics.

Digital governance and near instantaneous data processing require new standards and safeguards on governance and privacy, which were not needed in the paper-based world. In addition, technological advances and widespread access to technology have led to unforeseen and radical changes in society. It has transformed criminal activities and led to the emergence of hybrid wars and attacks on governments as well as private persons. The question is no more if we will be attacked but when.

Widespread access to new technologies and unlimited internet resources has given rise to fake news, targeted advertising and weaponising of social media for political goals. All of this has had multifaceted effects on politics, conspiracy theories and democratic processes. The future will see power dynamics in the world transform further, in-between Chinese “algorithmic authoritarianism” and the US’ “surveillance capitalism”. Where will privacy-fixated Europe fit?

The series consists of four lectures, each discussing the matter from a different angle. The full programme is given here. All lectures will be online via Zoom, in English, and open to everyone interested. Preregistration is required.

The lecture series is curated by Robert Krimmer, Professor of E-governance, Programme Manager for Democracy and Governance.

The lecture series is supported by the ECePS ERA Chair in e-governance and digital public services project (Horizon 2020 grant agreement No. 857622).

Further information: Elis Vollmer, Project Manager, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu, +372 5664 1404,