Logius Internationaal seminar digitale inclusie en toegankelijkheid

Toespraak van staatssecretaris Knops (BZK) bij de opening van het internationaal seminar ‘digitale inclusie en toegankelijkheid’ van Logius, op 4 oktober 2018 in Den Haag. Alleen het gesproken woord geldt.

De toespraak is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

The local newspaper De Gelderlander recently had an article about Elise Jansen from Wageningen.

Elise lives an 'analog life'. She never owned a cell phone, has no computer and has never spent a minute of her time on the world wide web.

She reads a lot of books, sometimes puts a record on the gramophone, and occasionally visits her local bank to make some arrangements.

She doesn’t think she is that special. And she manages just fine.

Now, Elise is 82, and she’s part of a shrinking minority.

For most of us, it is fair to say technology has changed our lives. In the work place, at home, and when we are on the move. We shop online, transfer money in seconds, book a restaurant, mail, app and twitter.

The use of technology radically influences and changes practically all aspects of society. Every individual and organization has to deal with it.

And so does the government. We have a responsibility to make the most of it. To control it where necessary. But above all: to use it where possible.

I consider technology as a driving force behind progress, not just economic progress, but also progress in the quality of life of all citizens. Well, almost all citizens…

But we want to use it respectfully, honoring public values like integrity and transparency. And acknowledging all citizens in their possibilities and preferences.

Society deserves a government for everyone, that leaves nobody behind. A government that bridges the digital divide.

That is 1 of the main ambitions of my agenda for the digital government, NLDIGIbeter, that I sent to parliament before the summer. My agenda advocates a government that engages, experiments and is not afraid to take the lead. A government that is reliable and innovative. An accessible and understandable government that puts citizens’ and their life events first.

Now, as you know, embracing the digital age creates all kinds of interesting opportunities for public service delivery. With authentication services, an online message box for receiving mail and notifications from the government, open data apps, Standard Business Reporting, to name just a few of examples. All user driven, accessible and efficient applications.

Here in the Netherlands, I have asked Logius to play an important role in this development, by stimulating the use of these and other digital services. To make them as smart and accessible as possible, so they meet the needs of different types of user groups. That can be quite a challenge.

But Logius’ solutions, standards, trust frameworks and registrations provide a solid ground on which we are steadily moving forward.

In addition, we will have a new law on digital government next year, the ‘Wet Digitale Overheid’. It prescribes governmental organizations to use open standards and services. And it provides a legal basis for surveillance and enforcement. A big step forward.

But when it comes to digital inclusion, we have work to do. Because realistically, not everyone who wants to, is able to deal with the challenges of the digital age.

So we have to remove obstacles, to make the use of digital information technologies as user-friendly as possible. Because everybody should be able to participate in society, also digitally.

We want our online services to meet the wishes, expectations and daily needs of citizens and companies. So we consult them how we can serve them best.

Through courses and support, and with the help of specialized organizations, we want to support everyone that is challenged by the digital society.For example: with courses in public libraries, with more focus on digital literacy in schools and with online exercises.

I will present my plans for digital inclusion to parliament before the end of this year. Now, I believe we should work together on this, exchanging ideas on how we improve public services and bridge the digital divide. That’s why I took the initiative for high level discussions with our European partners on the impact of technology.

We are already discussing data management and ownership with the Fins.

We are discussing the right to inspect and correct your own personal data with the Estonians.

We are discussing the future of digital identity with several other European countries.

But there is room for a more intensive exchange of ideas and good practices. For me, the agenda of these meetings should include at least three topics: identity, public values in digitalization and inclusive public services.

This international seminar provides the opportunity to learn how we can improve the usability and accessibility of our digital government services. Experts from Sweden, Belgium, the UK, Germany and The Netherlands will share what they know, and discuss the challenges, solutions and lessons learned.

We hope you will be inspired and learn from each other today. Because together we can achieve more than alone. Together we can dramatically improve public services. Together we can really make a difference. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

We want to be an effective, reliable and accessible government. We want to make the most of what technology has to offer. But we also want to make sure everybody benefits, and nobody is left out.

We owe it to the people who think changes are going too fast. We owe it to the people who are unable to benefit from these changes. And we owe it to Elise, who needs no computers in her life. And who has every right to live like that.  

Thank you.