A citizens' right to digital interaction with administration

There should be a right of citizens and businesses to digitally interact with public administrations throughout the EU.

Much is being said about "digital by default", sometimes this is meant as an obligation, sometimes this is construed as "preferred" channel etc.

But why shouldn't it be made the real choice of citizens? They should have a right to choose for the electronic communication and interaction. So, whenever there is a need to have contact with administration (handing in an application, search for information etc. but also the channel back to the applicant - the delivery of the outcome of the pocedure (serving the document/ the licence etc.)), the citizen should have to right to perform this digitally.

This means - of course - the accompanying obligation of the involved adminstrations to offer such electronic channel (two-directional). Whether this means simply offering an e-mail channel or offering electronic forms or offering specific electronic channels for interaction, this would still be the choice of the administration (as this will heavily depend on the specificities of the concrete service, on the volume to be exchanged, on the number of procedures, on the complexity of the service etc.). There may be exceptions, though, for cases which simply cannot be done electronically (such as a physical inspection necessity for specific allowances, or handing over the physical car license plate etc.), but apart from those "natural" exceptions, the right should be generally there.

The message for political level as well as for the citizens would be crystal clear: making digital interaction happen will need such an EU-wide right.

Comments

Submitted by Anders Gjoen on Fri, 11/11/2016 - 15:05

Peter,

In addition to the idea of having a right for citizens to interact digitally with public administrations could we envisage a broader set of rights that could be promoted at the European Level. One idea could be to have a charter for digital rights that could set out the minimum rights for digital interaction with the public sector.

What do you think?

Anders