Coppieters Foundation, Post-Covid Europe series, 4
COVID-19 has hit citizens dramatically during 2020, not only creating a general risk-driven environment encompassing a wide array of economic vulnerabilities but also exposing them to pervasive digital risks, such as biosurveillance, misinformation, and e-democracy algorithmic threats. Over the course of the pandemic, a debate has emerged about the appropriate techno-political response when governments use disease surveillance technologies to tackle the spread of COVID-19, pointing out the dichotomy between state-Leviathan cybercontrol and civil liberties. In order to shed light on this debate, this article introduces the term ‘pandemic citizenship’ to better understand extreme circumstances in which citizens have been surviving. Particularly, this article attempts to provide an overview by focusing on stateless nations and the need to conduct further research and gather policy evidence to articulate counter political strategies as ‘algorithmic nations’. The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably raised the need to resiliently and techno-politically respond to threats that hyper-connected and highly virialised societies produce. Amidst the increasingly AI-driven governance systems in several nation-states in Europe, this article spotted the need to devolve data power to citizens through data ecosystems in European stateless algorithmic nations. This article argues that in the absence of a coordinated and inter-dependent strategy to claim digital rights and technological sovereignty by a set of stateless algorithmic nations in Europe, on the one hand, Big Tech data-opolies, and on the other hand, the GDPR led by the European Commission, might bound and expand respectively, stateless nations’ capacity to mitigate the negative side effects of the algorithmic disruption. Individually, we already observed subtle reactions in several nations, including Catalonia and Scotland, that are unlikely to be consistent unless a joint strategy takes place at the European level by stakeholders operating in these nations’ techno-political spheres.