HIIG SCIENCE BLOG

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Mitbestimmung

Codetermination, Allgäu-style

Co-creation, transparency and other forms of employee participation are becoming more and more of a necessity for enterprises - and that goes not only for upstarts, but increasingly for small...
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Storm in a teacup: predatory journals are irrelevant

A team of investigative journalists has discovered so-called “Predatory publishing”. Since then media has quickly picked up the term "fake science". Yet, the phenomenon is well-known to researchers and only...
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Removals of online hate speech in numbers

Six months after a new German law – the Network Enforcement Act – has come into full effect, social media platforms are tasked to report on illegal hate speech. But...
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The difficulty of regulating “fake news”

In early 2018, President Macron announced a law against fake news. This was triggered by the dissemination of false information during the election campaign and the general fear that they...
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Is there (digital) life after death?

Yes, at least for your digital persona according to the German Federal Court of Justice [1]. The judges found that a social media account is hereditary. Social media accounts are to be...
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What is digital constitutionalism?

Over the past few decades, the incessant development of digital technology and its disruptive impact on contemporary society have affected the relative equilibrium of the constitutional ecosystem. A series of...
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The future of work? Working on the future!

Until 2030, half of our jobs will have disappeared. Simply gone, fallen prey to "Artificial Intelligence", replaced by robots. Ghostly visions like these are now wandering through feuilletons, best-selling books...
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Answers from the past

Recently, reports on the various aspects of the "future of work" have been accumulating. Nevertheless, the visions about the digital society and the role of work in it seem to...
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You’re fired

Emojis, gifs and chat programs like Slack are designed to lighten the mood in the office. Our guest contributor Bianca Xenia Jankovska believes: As long as the hierarchies remain rigid,...
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Silicon Inquiry

The Silicon Valley ideology is a morally destitute trap. But could its well-paid staff transform it? Building on her experience as a Google developer and a tech startup founder, guest...
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Slack & Co.: The German Way

“Social Collaboration” platforms like Slack, Sharepoint or Yammer promise more transparency and employee participation within enterprises. Long ago, one entire economy has found its own way to achieve this: Christopher...
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A risk worth taking: Studying content moderation on social media platforms

While social media platforms choose to identify themselves as neutral platforms, there is growing complexity around the ways to analyze their structure, operational dynamics as well as the regulatory frameworks...
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The empire of internet celebrities

Carla is an influencer and gets her first big photo exhibition sponsored in a Berlin museum in May, Stefanie is a DIY podcaster and is about to sign her first...
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Status Work in the Data Society: Übercapital and Hyper-individualization

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...
Algorithmische Entscheidungen und Menschenrechte

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...
Castells: Network society

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...