16 December 2019

Digital Trust Workshop

Does the digitalization of the public sector challenge our trust in the state?

A number of leading opinion makers, academics and journalists met in mid-December for the workshop "Digital Trust in Denmark - A Workshop on Trust and Distrust of Public Institutions in the World's Most Digitized Country." Among the participants was a representative from the Danish Tech Embassy, ​​Christiane Vejlø (Elektronista), Thomas Madsen-Mygdal (Tech Festival), Markus Bernsen (Weekendavisen), Anders Kjærulff (Analogiserstyrelsen), Anders Hvid (Dare Disrupt), and a number of researchers from the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and the IT University (ITU).

Participants were asked to jointly discuss what it means to trust digital systems, and whether the historically high confidence in the Danish state is being challenged by the increasing digitization of almost the entire public sector. Among the presentations were Markus Bernsen from Weekendavisen who discussed his new book "Denmark Disrupted: Faith, Hope and Tech Giants" with James Maguire, Assistant Professor at ITU, and Thomas Madsen-Mygdal from the Tech Festival, who presented the initiative "The Tech Pledge." In addition, a number of research presentations contributed to the discussion. Christopher Gad, Associate Professor at ITU, presented insights from the DemTech research project on the potentials of digitization of election systems. Kristoffer Albris, Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen, presented the results of a research project on data protection officers. Peter Thisted Dinesen, Professor at the University of Copenhagen, addressed the perceived crisis of trust in Danish society, pointing towards data showing that Danes' trust in both the state and society in general remains high. Artist Maria Bordoff presented a number of art projects that focus on the loss of society's old institutions as a result of digitization, exemplified by the postal service.

The workshop was a joint initiative, organized by the research project Data as Relation at ITU, and Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science (SODAS) at UCPH. The organizers consisted of Assistant Professor Kristoffer Albris and Professor Morten Axel Pedersen from SODAS, as well as Assistant Professor James Maguire, Postdoc Lise Røjskjær Pedersen, and Professor Britt Ross Winthereik from ITU.