Dear friends and fellow researchers,

The year 2017 is already full of buzzwords: Trump, hate speech and fake news are making political headlines. How can we make sense of politics in the digital age? After elections in the Netherlands, Turkey and France, and not long before the upcoming German elections, we are sharing interesting findings from our research project about populist movements online, Networks of Outrage. Since the digital sphere doesn’t just consist of 0s and 1s, and because it shapes all of our lives, we’d also like to invite you to engage in some offline activities: Have a chat with our researchers at re:publica, join us for one of our workshops or visit us at HIIG for the next #digsal.

So much for our introductory remarks. Now enjoy reading!

Jeanette Hofmann | Ingolf Pernice | Thomas Schildhauer | Wolfgang Schulz


Research Project | Networks of Outrage

In the past decade, Europe has witnessed the birth of many movements at the far right of the political spectrum that share bottom-up web communication strategies. Our completed research project Networks of Outrage aimed at exploring public online networks and European connections of these movements by investigating their social media communication. The project showed that opponents and supporters of same issues use completely different sources of information. Moreover, people involved in movements of outrage not only discuss topics such as migration and Islam, but also talk about terrorism, crime, the media and global trade. On Facebook pages of right-wing populist groups, even dispassionately expressed criticism is often deleted, while incisive utterances remain public.

| More about Outrage online!

re:publica | Digital Delights

Founded ten years ago, re:publica has grown into one of the most exciting conferences on digital culture. HIIG researchers already attended the conference in the last few years, and we won’t be missing out on this year’s edition titled Love out Loud either. Visiting researcher Lisa Gutermuth will present her Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) findings. Associated researcher Theresa Züger will be giving a talk on the meaning of civil disobedience in the digital era. In his privacy-by-design workshop, Maximilian von Grafenstein will demonstrate why data protection law doesn’t need to spoil all the fun when it comes to fashion tech. Meet our director Jeanette Hofmann, a co-initiator of the #DigitalCharta, and take the opportunity to contribute to its public review phase at re:publica. Last but not least, watch out for visiting researcher Melih Kırlıdoğ’s session Turkish Delight: A for Arrest, B for Bots & C for Censorship. Melih will be joined by Başak Çali and Efe Kerem Sözeri, and the session will be moderated by our doctoral researcher Uta-Meier Hahn.

| Love out Louder!

German Judges Federation | Transparent Man

Who will protect us from reckless data collectors and the subtle influencing of our individual decisions in times of big data, the internet of things and artificial intelligence? The gathering of the German Judges Federation on 5–7 April 2017 in Weimar saw four thrilling interdisciplinary panels. Our institute was represented by Jeanette Hofmann on a panel on net neutrality and Ingolf Pernice on a panel on the effects of big data. How can justice meet the challenges of an increasingly connected and digital world? There was no final answer. However, with critical thinking and an open mind, we're on the right path.

| How transparent are we?

Startups | It’s Time to Collaborate

Small and medium-sized businesses are facing unique challenges when it comes to collaborating with startups, as they have to work with a tighter budget than large corporations. On 6 March 2017, HIIG's director Thomas Schildhauer, researcher Martin Wrobel and Spielfeld’s managing director Michael Hoffmann came together at Spielfeld Digital Hub to discuss experiences, challenges and suitable forms of collaboration with more than 40 representatives from startups, corporations and business associations. During four workshops focusing on three different phases of collaboration (Learn, Match and Partner), the participants found that the key aspects of a successful collaboration include the definition of clear goals, in-depth communication and commitment from both sides.

| Let Luise and Martin tell you more on our blog.


Open Science | Interference Appreciated

For scientists, it’s time to take back control of their key product: knowledge! A European open access platform would allow academia to free itself from its dependency on commercial publishers and push new publication formats. The authors of this LSE Impact Blog article (among them our doctoral candidate Benedikt Fecher and associate researcher Sascha Friesike) invite you to contribute to this endeavour by making your own comments and suggestions in an open document:

| Open access is here to stay!

Internet Policy Review |  Australian Special Issue

Down under: in its most recent special issue, the Internet Policy Review turns southward! What are the challenges and choices that the field of internet policy faces in Australia today? The special issue provides a snapshot of developments in various fields (access, privacy, censorship) as a means to better understand the state of play in Australia, and also how this compares to internet policy in other parts of the world, especially Europe and North America. The special issue will be presented in Melbourne on 3 May 2017. Full details of the launch event here.

| Take a sneak preview of the special issue.

Peace and Cybersecurity |  Je suis Internet

The internet is no longer solely an incredible instrument for worldwide communication, but has also become a space for confrontation and electronic weaponisation. This is why HIIG is starting a project on Cybersecurity Governance. Will a new “command“ of cyber forces make the world a safer place? And what about the application of international law in cyberspace? What role will the UN or private actors play? HIIG director Ingolf Pernice was given the opportunity to develop some thoughts on the governance of peace and cybersecurity at an international conference held at the UNESCO Paris headquarters in April 2017. More thoughts on developing a multilevel approach to global cybersecurity will be published soon at SSRN. Meanwhile, have a look at their page with ...

| ... the most beautiful name on the web!

Autonomous Driving | Privacy and Security

As long as we’re not earnestly researching flying cars or private spaceships for weekend trips to the moon, we should at least understand the project of autonomous vehicles better. Just recently, MIT alerted us to the topic of moral decisions taken by AI, such as self-driving cars. Now, Max von Grafenstein co-authored a chapter in the book Safer and More Efficient Future Driving, asking how citizens can influence development processes so that a technology’s factual constraints can be considered democratically legitimate.

| A hitchhiker's guide to autonomous driving?

EU Institutions | Trust at risk

Trust is a fundamental condition for a fair and cooperative society. But what if trust collapses? A breakdown could create serious risks but also opportunities, and is therefore an important factor when designing policies and strategies. HIIG director Jeanette Hofmann’s “Constellations of trust and distrust in Internet governance” was recently published as part of an EU report on this topic. The report asks how an erosion of trust is affecting European policies and institutions and provides insights into how the EU could create more trust in the European project.

| Trusted download here.


dwerft Final Conference | 12 May 2017

It's showtime! Almost three years ago, dwerft – linked film & tv services began its research in Babelsberg, where the world’s first large-scale movie studio was located. Since then, the research alliance has pursued its vision of a ”Linked Production Data Cloud” alongside other technologies. Now, dwerft is inviting you to its final conference: on 12 May 2017, they are presenting an overview of their four-year research activities. Check out their results and listen to two keynotes on ”Meta Data as Business” held by our doctoral candidates Rike Maier and Urs Kind!

| Follow the rabbit.

Ranking Digital Rights | 23 May 2016

Smartphones are our new best friends. Since we are constantly online, we should care about how they can affect our freedom of expression and privacy. Together with Ranking Digital Rights and WikiRate, we invite you to join us for a Data Sprint. We will be using the RDR methodology to research the published policies of some of the largest European telecommunications companies in real time: how do they affect our digital rights?


IV. Interdisciplinary Workshop "Privacy, Data Protection & Surveillance"  | 28 June 2017

Are you interested in the scientific issues around “Privacy, Data Protection & Surveillance”? Maybe you’ve collected new empirical data refuting a widely-held belief and – as a result – developed a better theory? Are you curious about insights from other disciplines, schools or research projects? Then present your findings or join the discussion at our workshop in June!

| Work in progress is also welcome!

Beyond HIIG | Events that Caught our Eye

19 – 20 May | Open Southeast Asia Workshop, FIW, Bonn

11 – 13 June | Buzzword, Kulturbrauerei, Berlin

6 – 7 June | EuroDIG 2017, Swiss Hotel/Kultuuri Katel, Tallinn

11 – 14 July | Tech Open Air, Funkhaus, Berlin


Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society
Französische Straße 9, 10117 Berlin | info@hiig.de