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The global Covid-19 pandemic has seen a revival of State interventionism at all levels, from large-scale fiscal stimulus to lockdown and mass vaccination programmes. This revival of big government also has a digital dimension. During the COVID-19 pandemic governments around the world have created tracking apps and moved steadily towards the digital transformation of citizen engagement and public services. Furthermore, over the course of the pandemic we have seen powerful states, including the US and China, locking horns over digital services and infrastructure, as seen in the debate over Chinese control of 5G networks and Trump’s threat to ban TikTok. These various trends call for a reflection on the nature of the state in digital times. In this one-day online conference we will discuss the ways in which the state is transforming in the present digital era, and how issues of sovereignty, authority, democracy, citizenship, and coercion traditionally associated with the state are evolving.

Speaker bio:

Panel 1: Digital Sovereignity

Roy Cobby Avaria (King's College London), Blayne Haggart (Brock University) and Natasha Tusikov (York University), Jessica Feldman (The American University of Paris), Jinghan Zeng (Lancaster University)

Chair - Elisa Oreglia (King's College London)

Panel 2: State Apps & The Digital Citizen

Audrey Guinchard (Essex University), Steven Feldstein (Carnegie Endowement for International Peace), Nitesh Bharosa (Delft University of Technology)

Chair - Zeena Feldman (King's College London)

Panel 3: Surveillance Statism

Azadeh Akbari (Universität Münster), Chuncheng Liu (University of California San Diego), Kirsten Hillebrand (Universität Bremen), Eva Blum-Dumontet (Privacy International)

Chair - Photini Vrikki (King's College London)

Keynote Speech: Professor Frank Pasquale (Brooklyn Law School)

Chair - Paulo Gerbaudo (King's College London)