Issues in focus
How COVID-19 impacts digital technologies
The current lockdown is boosting online activity – everything is increasingly shifting to the digital sphere. In this dossier we ask if, how and why the Corona pandemic will affect key subjects of digital technologies. What does this mean for the regulation of content on digital platforms? How is Covid-19 activating the digital society? How does it transform our online culture? How safe are tracing apps? What lessons can be learned regarding cyber security? Busy times for our researchers!
Ali Aslan Gümüsay
Organizing in times of crisis
Tina Krell, Jörg Pohle and Deniz Erden
Pandemic control through digital media
Matthias C. Kettemann
Five questions on COVID-19, law and regulation
Tackling COVID-19 requires coordinated, collaborative, and collective efforts that take into account other grand challenges including climate change. So how does this crisis relate to other grand challenges and how…
Countries with a high peak in Google searches for the term coronavirus tend to reduce their COVID-19 infection rates. Does it make sense to associate digital information search with the…
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted cybersecurity in several ways. The challenges range from the infrastructure of the internet itself to the spread of disinformation online. Nevertheless, not all is lost,…
Marcel Wrzesinski has been Open Access Officer at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society for almost a year. The seasoned journal editor who’s been in academic publishing for about…
Perils and Opportunities How will the coronavirus pandemic affect specific kinds of digital technologies and practices? HIIG researchers offer some tentative answers. At this point, we have all been overwhelmed…
The coronavirus pandemic has created a gold mine for cybercriminal activities, including those sponsored by states, generating digital chaos. However, amid this chaos, a light at the end of the…
The effects of the corona pandemic currently worry small and medium-sized businesses. At the same time, facing the current crisis, formerly analogue processes are adapted at an impressive speed. Coupled…
The Corona pandemic has made us all painfully aware of how dependent we are on tech companies. This should not put an end to critical debates around tech regulation but…
The social relevance of digital spaces for collective action is greater than ever. This article addresses acts of solidarity during corona pandemic and examines in what way they affect norms…
João Carlos Magalhães and Nick Couldry: Tech Giants Are Using This Crisis to Colonize the Welfare System
In recent years, firms like Google and Facebook have used the Global South as a test bed for new and unregulated forms of data collection. Faced with coronavirus, the same mechanisms are being rolled out across the world — with for-profit data collection becoming increasingly central to states’ management of their welfare systems.
Jörg Pohle et al.: Datenschutz-Folgenabschätzung für die Corona-App
Seit einigen Wochen kreist die Diskussion um die Eindämmung der Corona-Pandemie um den Einsatz technischer Hilfsmittel wie Tracing-Apps für Smartphones. Wir haben es hier mit einem gesellschaftlichen Großexperiment zur digitalen Verhaltenserfassung unter staatlicher Aufsicht zu tun. Doch wie steht es um Wirksamkeit und Folgen entsprechender Apps?
Pablo Beytía & Carlos Cruz Infante: Using Google Trends to Track Social Responses to COVID-19
We need quickly available indicators of how actively populations are responding to the virus: changes in social behaviour could mean significant differences in the spread. This article explores the potential of Google Trends to quickly track social responses to the pandemic: In all the countries that have reached a downward change point, an “information saturation peak” preceded it.
Christian Katzenbach and João Carlos Magalhães: Coronavirus and the frailness of platform governance
Unsurprisingly in an era dominated in many ways by ‘Big Tech’, the pandemic has also helped to foreground how contestable – and, we argue, utterly frail – platform governance is. By this expression we mean the regimes of rules, patterned practices and algorithmic systems whereby companies govern who can see what in their digital platforms.
Björn Scheuermann et al.: Privacy-Preserving Contact Tracing of COVID-19 Patients
The current COVID-19 pandemic shows that our modern globalized world can be heavily affected by a quickly spreading, highly infectious, deadly virus in a matter of weeks. It became apparent that manual contact tracing and quarantining of suspects can only be effective in the first days of the spread before the exponential growth overwhelms the health authorities. The authors of this text propose a system for privacy-preserving contact tracing.