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Digital Technologies and Public Procurement: Gatekeeping and Experimentation in Digital Public Governance

ISBN13: 9780198866770
Published: January 2024
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £90.00

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The digital transformation of the public sector has accelerated. States are experimenting with technology, seeking more streamlined and efficient digital government and public services. However, there are significant concerns about the risks and harms to individual and collective rights under new modes of digital public governance. Several jurisdictions are attempting to regulate digital technologies, especially artificial intelligence, however regulatory effort primarily concentrates on technology use by companies, not by governments. The regulatory gap underpinning public sector digitalisation is growing.

As it controls the acquisition of digital technologies, public procurement has emerged as a 'regulatory fix' to govern public sector digitalisation. It seeks to ensure through its contracts that public sector digitalisation is trustworthy, ethical, responsible, transparent, fair, and (cyber) safe.

However, in Digital Technologies and Public Procurement: Gatekeeping and Experimentation in Digital Public Governance, Albert Sanchez-Graells argues that procurement cannot perform this gatekeeping role effectively. Through a detailed case study of procurement digitalisation as a site of unregulated technological experimentation, he demonstrates that relying on 'regulation by contract' creates a false sense of security in governing the transition towards digital public governance. This leaves the public sector exposed to the 'policy irresistibility' that surrounds hyped digital technologies.

Bringing together insights from political economy, public policy, science, technology, and legal scholarship, this thought-provoking book proposes an alternative regulatory approach and contributes to broader debates of digital constitutionalism and digital technology regulation.

IT, Internet and Artificial Intelligence Law
Part I: Introduction
2:The Two Roles of Procurement in the Transition Towards Digital Public Governance

Part II: Regulating Public Sector Digitalisation by Contract
3:Regulating Public and Private Interactions Through Procurement
4:Procurement Tools for Digital 'Regulation by Contract'
5:Discharging Procurement of the Digital Regulation Role

Part III: Experimenting with Public Sector Digitalisation
6:The Technological Promise of Digital Governance: Procurement as a Case Study of 'Policy Irresistibility'
7:Revisiting the Promise: A Feasibility Boundary for Digital Procurement Governance
8:Identifying Emerging Risks in Digital Procurement Governance
9:Governing the Assessment and Taking of Risks in Digital Procurement Governance

Part IV: Conclusion