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Status work in the data society: Übercapital and hyper-individualisation

Whether it is childcare, credit or consumer goods: ratings, scores and the digital footprint produce new social classifications. This increasing quantification of the social is the reason for new forms...
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“It’s about human dignity and autonomy”

Privacy and data protection are currently being debated more intensively than ever before. In this interview, Frederike Kaltheuner from the civil rights organisation Privacy International explains why those terms have...
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Emojis or empowerment?

By implementing internal communication platforms, enterprises are hoping to promote efficiency (vulgo: to get rid of e-mail), transparency and employee participation. But such platforms are unlikely to take off by...
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Social order in the digital society

In today’s digital economy, data is so important that many observers speak of it as “the oil of the 21st century.” The corporations that collect the most of it have...
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Employee empowerment or workers’ control? The use case of enterprise social networks

In the context of the digitization of the workplace, numerous companies are introducing digital platforms that are intended to strengthen employee participation. The implications of social media for the meaning...
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Digital trouble

We are constantly upset about our digital helpers. That should give us food for thought. When was the last time you got digitally annoyed? When Skype refused to work right...
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Network of Centers: Desk Swap with CCLP Haifa

As part of a desk swap program, our researcher Amélie Heldt spent two weeks at the Center for Cyber Law and Policy (CCLP), a partner institute at the University of...
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A constitution for social media?

To comply with the impending GDPR rules, social media platforms are asking users to accept their new privacy policies. In light of the recent scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica,...
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Artificial intelligence art – who owns the copyright?

If your pet dog Hans takes a selfie, does he own the copyright? A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“Ninth Circuit”) is instructive....
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Rural and digital: Revolution in agriculture?

To reinvent itself, agriculture is slowly adapting to industry 4.0 as a model: drones, autonomous tractors and robots are the first step. But so far, missing platforms and poorly developed...
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Scaling research and impacting change

How do the world’s most powerful internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies treat their users’ freedom of expression and privacy? On 2 May 2018, the Ranking Digital Rights 2018 Corporate Accountability...
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Harnessing Artificial Intelligence the European Way

Will 10 April 2018 be remembered by many as the day of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the US Senate? The hearing was covered by the media in all aspects down...
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What’s the GDPR?

New rights for consumers, new obligations for businesses: European data protection law will receive a massive update. In this article, five HIIG researchers answered questions on the General Data Protection...
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Data protection and designing technology

In his dissertation Jörg Pohle uncovers the history of ideas and the historical construction of the data protection problem and data protection as an abstract solution - including the architecture...
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Trust in me, just in me! Trusted Third Parties in data protection law

High time for a reform of European data protection legislation: The last corresponding directive dates from 1995 and is no longer up to the technical developments of Big Data, Smart...
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The principle of purpose limitation in data protection laws

In his dissertation, Maximilian von Grafenstein examines the principle of purpose limitation in data protection law, which not only protects the autonomy of those affected, but also provides data processing companies...
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The ethics of big data, Facebook & Cambridge Analytica

Facebook is under fire after the social media giant admitted it didn’t prevent data from as many as 50 million users getting to political data firm Cambridge Analytica, which it...
Mathias Voelzke Völzke info@mathiasvoelzke.com www.mathiasvoelzke.com

Power and counter-power in the digital society

How is power constituted in the digital society? Who is powerful – and how can power be countered and contested? On 12 December 2017, Manuel Castells held the opening lecture...
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Voter or consumer – double standards?

The current debate over Facebook and Cambridge Analytica also concerns the fundamental status of citizens as essential components of public opinion-forming: With their data collected, analysed and sold by social networks,...
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Understanding Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a controversial and much-discussed topic of our digital future. Aljoscha Burchardt sees a huge gap between the machines of today, which are able to act intelligently, and the...
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The future of sampling – transformative art or copyright infringement?

What do an Amazon rainforest choir, a finish flute and a synthesizer from a German electronic release have in common? They are all part of a song of the Danish...
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No, YouTube’s “trolls” won’t destroy Wikipedia

YouTube’s decision to embed Wikipedia articles under controversial videos caused a huge uproar. Commentators and scholars chastised YouTube for being lazy, for outsourcing their responsibility, or for “crushing” the online...
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Omens and algorithms: A response to Elena Esposito

Can algorithms actually predict the future? And if so, does this make them the gods of our modern society? In her lecture ‘Future and uncertainty in the digital society’, Elena...
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Hate speech and fake news – how two concepts got intertwined and politicised

On 1 October 2017, the so-called Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, or NetzDG) came into force with a transitional regulation. The law applies to operators of social media platforms and their...
Blockchain Innovation

Will blockchain disrupt your business?

Blockchain has been praised to be “the technology most likely to change the next decade of business”. The disruptive power of the blockchain technology is still limited, says HIIG-researcher Jessica...
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Organic search: How metaphors help cultivate the web

Tomatoes, apples and bread can be ‘organic.’ But search results? Anna Jobin and Malte Ziewitz wonder about the currency of agricultural metaphors in web search and show how they do...
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Fostering a cybersecurity mindset

What precisely is the meaning of the concept of cybersecurity – and who is responsible for its implementation? Guest author William Dutton argues that challenges in this area might require...
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From #MeToo to #RiceBunny: how social media users are campaigning in China

In Chinese, the phrase “rice bunny” is pronounced as “mi tu” and has become a nickname for the #MeToo campaign. The #RiceBunny hashtag, accompanied by emojis of rice bowls and bunny...
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The Privatised Public Sphere

The public sphere metaphor was always contested and this continues in the digital realm. While “old” debates on access, inequality and power continue, the so-called platform society has taken concerns...
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Backdoor: How a metaphor turns into a weapon

Governments want special access to encrypted data while IT specialists and privacy advocates oppose these demands. What is the role of the “backdoor” metaphor within these conflicts, often coined as...
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Chers voisins d’outre-Rhin: A french NetzDG?

In his New Years Speech French president Emmanuel Macron has announced a new law project regarding the propagation of fake news online that shall be submitted until late 2018. This...
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Hidden treasure: User innovation in smart energy

Everybody is discussing energy cost savings. But what is the situation with Smart Energy user innovations in Germany? In this interview conducted by innogy foundation, Hendrik Send refers to a...
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Nudging in the digital age

“Nudging” has been given a new dimension through Big Data in recent years: How and through which instruments can the combination of digitised personal data and the observations of the...
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Practical tests for privacy law

With the fifth event taking place, the biannual workshop series “Privacy, Data Protection & Surveillance” – organized by Dr. Johannes Eichenhofer and Jörg Pohle – has established itself as an...
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Why Social Collaboration doesn’t work without participation

Digital Platforms like Yammer, Slack or Sharepoint are ushering in a new era of communication and collaboration within enterprises. They have got what it takes to boost the productivity and...
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Algorithmic decision making and human rights

Embedded in smart technologies, algorithms are taking decisions on a daily basis. What challenges arise from algorithmic decision making for human rights and for the regulation of artificial intelligence? In...
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Can a black box be trusted?

Does our life really improve with algorithmic decision-making? Big Data-based models often reflect our very own biases of society. Further, in some cases it can be hard to look into...
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Profiling the unemployed

Since 2014, job centres in Poland have been using an algorithmic decision-making system to categorize unemployed people and allocated different types of assistance. In the context of the global financial...
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Mind-tracking and the new transparent self

Have you ever wanted to monitor your steps, heart rate, sleep, or body temperature? Nowadays, we can choose from an incredible variety of wearable devices. If you aim to move...
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On the road to digital reason?

It's not always easy to be reasonable. Very often, reason is uncomfortable and a reasonable choice can be difficult to make. Fortunately, rational algorithms promise to support us and take...
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Loud, influential, and hyped: How we overestimate Twitter

Fake news, Russian bots, or hate speech: Twitter is a centerpiece of modern public communication, at times claimed to have a hand in Trump’s election victory or Brexit, and journalists...
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Academic impact outside of academia

What actually is academic impact? And how can one optimise the non-academic impact of research? Those were the key questions at the first "Impact School", which was held at the...
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Is Open Science a tautology?

In our blog series on metaphors of the digital society, we uncover the vocabularies that are thrown around almost haphazardly these days. These terms are often deployed in the scholarly and...
Mathias Voelzke Völzke info@mathiasvoelzke.com www.mathiasvoelzke.com

Digital power-play: Manuel Castells in Berlin

Manuel Castells has been one of the first intellectuals to grasp the internet and its associated developments within a broader social theory. So, how is power constituted in the digital...
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Revisiting Castells’ Network Society

We are living in a network society: Manuel Castells attracted wide attention when he published his trilogy The Information Age twenty years ago, providing a broader social theory on the...
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Co-Creating an Innovatie society with newcomer entrepreneurs

In this interview, Suhayl Chettih gives insight into the challenges of making the Berlin startup scene a more inclusive place. SINGA Business Lab (formerly known as Ideas in Motion) is...
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Data, information, interaction. A multi-layer approach in online publishing

This blog article presents the prototype of an online publication design for the recently published study “Kooperationen zwischen Startups und Mittelstand” of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and...
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Collaboration between startups and mid-sized companies. Learn. Match. Partner.

When startups and mid-sized companies meet, two worlds collide. Startups are the main driver of digitization but inexperienced, while mid-sized companies do have experience but lack digitization expertise. Collaboration between...
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The implementation of label obligations in influencer marketing

On blogs and social networks, influencers show what brands they wear and what kind of coffee they drink. But how to sufficiently label commercial content? This article lays down the current...
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Anonymous comments on the web: The case of 4chan

Throughout the history of literature, various works have been published and written anonymously. On the Internet, “Anonymous” appears to be the most productive of all users. Does the freedom of speech...
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What kind of open access future do we want?

Open access debates are increasingly focused on “how” rather than “why”. Tony Ross-Hellauer and Benedikt Fecher present two possible scenarios for an open access future, consider the relative merits and...
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The evolution of the open source community and the disruption of the hardware industry

Open source hardware is not merely a buzzword any more. The increase of velocity in building innovative hardware solutions through platforms and their co-creators did not go unnoticed. In fact,...
Blog journal Elephant in the Lab

The blog journal elephantinthelab.org spots problems in science

You have probably heard the phrase “ the elephant in the room” to say that there is a problem that everyone knows, but no one talks about. As of July...
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Love, Robot

Technical actors are increasingly developed and deployed for the field of care. How does this interaction between the human and the machine change our understanding of empathy? Can machines be...
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Nothing to hide?

In our interconnected and digitised society, personal data is the new gold. Therefore, we increasingly have to deal with complex matters like privacy and data protection. But how to explain...
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Serious Games as a Tool for Privacy-by-Design

In a digitised society, where individual communication is increasingly based on the processing of personal data, explaining the complexity of privacy is hardly feasible. That’s why we at the Alexander...
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Governance between norms, discourse and technology

Here at irregular intervals we will publish short articles about the doctoral theses that were written at HIIG. This week we have a look at the doctoral thesis "Governance –Technik – Kommunikation....
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The platform as pizza: towards a taxonomy of platforms

The ‘platform’ metaphor is at once inevitable and misleading. What’s more, we no longer regard it a metaphor. Following Tarleton Gillespie’s proposal to complement the discourse with other images, José...
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ICOs – New Rules for Startup Financing

Blog series ICO – Part II: Commercial relevance - who needs it? ICOs1 have achieved quite a significant commercial relevance within the last months: According to Smith + Crown a total...
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State hacking and IT security

It is a widely held belief that freedom and security are antagonists. This blog post addresses an issue where freedom and security are on the same side: IT security, especially...
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Telecommunications service providers get more authorities for more IT-security

In summer 2017, the German legislature has fully implemented the European Directive on Network and Information Security. In addition to transposing the  European minimal standards, the German lawmaker adopted new...
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About tested campaign promises and burst bubbles

Before the elections in Germany different voting advice applications appeared . Many of those online tools are purely informative, other tools like the Wahl-o-mat show the user's political proximity to...
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Customer, reader or activist? Citizens in the process of digitising government

The party platforms for the German general election 2017 agree on one point: Public administration ought to be digitised. Yet, the views differ on what is to be achieved by...
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Germany as a supplier of digital factories: the industrial internet

The balance of power in the digital industry seems to be clearly distributed. There are mainly American (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) and Chinese companies (Alibaba, Baidu, Sina Weibo) that have...
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How significant is algorithmic personalization in searches for political parties and candidates? Part II

Of the many things we do online, search is probably the most common. Beyond messaging, entertainment, shopping, and a myriad of other activities, utilizing search engines, such as Google, to...
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Harmful online speech and the role of collective identities

Harmful speech or hate speech is a tragic part of online communication. By examining the how users talk to each other about climate change in online comment sections of German...
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The Platform Metaphor, Revisited

The most successful internet businesses are based on the idea of offering a platform. Author Tarleton Gillespie discusses the hidden meaning of this popular and widely accepted metaphor and reveals...
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Social media usage as a marketing tool for video content

This article analyses how different film and video formats like movies (cinema), series (TV or VoD) and webseries make use of social media platforms as communication tools (facebook, twitter and...
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Digital research politics

Digitalisation changes science and research. This simple insight is also present in the programs of German parties, although not to the same extent and with different foci. Which German parties...
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The secrets of de-peering

Handbooks, conferences, best practice documents – there are many resources to turn to in order to learn about Internet peering. But when it comes to de-peering, networkers are mostly left...
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Algorithms, robots and smart machines: How German parties deal with AI

Will it be necessary in the future to have the algorithms of your digital assistants checked by state authorities? This might depend on the results of the German parliamentary election...
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How significant is algorithmic personalization in searches for political parties and candidates?

Of the many things we do online, search is probably the most common. Beyond messaging, entertainment, shopping, and a myriad of other activities, utilizing search engines, such as Google, to...
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Privacy, data protection & surveillance – the contested consent

While the third interdisciplinary workshop on privacy, data protection & surveillance in our series focused primarily on theoretical questions, the fourth workshop mainly concerned more practical issues. We put a major focus...
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Key resource knowledge: learning in a digitalised world

The digitalisation challenges existing paradigms in almost all areas of society. It is not – although often claimed – a force of nature that we have to adapt to. It...
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Innovative and regulated

Telemedius is a law internet project concentrating on questions of the information society. On the first July weekend they held their annual summer conference with the topic: The law of...
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Sharing – from ploughshares to file sharing and beyond

The metaphor of sharing is central to the workings of social media and indeed to computer-mediated communication in its broadest sense. Online sharing includes posting statuses, photos and videos; it...
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The internet was built on trust. But what does it run on?

One of the most noble narratives about the internet is that it is built on trust. This article sets out to check if that saying still holds true. One of...
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Form follows function? Challenging the academic narrative

The internet has fundamentally changed the way researchers work and collaborate, but has had less impact on the way they publish their results. We ask how scientific reports should be...
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Getting serious? Where is the startup scene heading to at Elbe and Spree?

To improve Germany – and Berlin and Hamburg in particular – as a business location for startups, we depend on high-quality data and information how these startup ecosystems perform in...
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“Transforming Entrepreneurial Thinking into Dynamic Capabilities”

On June 2-4, 2017 the Strategic Management Society hosted a special conference on “Transforming Entrepreneurial Thinking into Dynamic Capabilities” in Banff, Canada. Jessica Schmeiss and Martina Dopfer, both researchers from...