E-regulation and the rule of law: smart government, institutional information infrastructures, and fundamental values
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Kennedy, R (2016) 'E-regulation and the rule of law: Smart government, institutional information infrastructures, and fundamental values'. Information Polity, 21 (1):77-98.
Information and communications technology (ICT) is increasingly used in bureaucratic and regulatory processes. With the development of the Internet of Things , some researchers speak enthusiastically of the birth of the Smart State . However, there are few theoretical or critical perspectives on the role of ICT in these routine decision-making processes and the mundane work of government regulation of economic and social activity. This article therefore makes an important contribution by putting forward a theoretical perspective on smartness in government and developing a values-based framework for the use of ICT as a tool in the internal machinery of government. It critically reviews the protection of the rule of law in digitized government. As an addition to work on e-government, a new field of study, e-regulation is proposed, defined, and critiqued, with particular attention to the difficulties raised by the use of models and simulation. The increasing development of e-regulation could compromise fundamental values by embedding biases, software errors, and mistaken assumptions deeply into government procedures. The article therefore discusses the connections between the Internet of Things , the development of Ambient Law , and how the use of ICT in e-regulation can be a support for or an impediment to the operation of the rule of law. It concludes that e-government research should give more attention to the processes of regulation, and that law should be a more central discipline for those engaged in this activity.