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Issues in focus


The state monitors its citizens, Internet companies monitor their users - and finally we monitor ourselves and each other. Who is monitoring whom and why? What positive effects can surveillance have and when does it become a danger for a democratic society? Questions like these were posed by students of the Humboldt University of Berlin in the seminar "Tracing Surveillance - On the Trace of Surveillance" led by HIIG researcher Thomas Christian Bächle. In the contributions to this dossier they discuss their views on state and economic power and surveillance technologies.

Insights in our research

Shoshana Zuboff

Surveillance capitalism and democracy

Digitaler Salon

Score me maybe?

In a nutshell

Nick Couldry on data colonialism

Blog articles

smart walls are a threat for democracy

Fest-Forward: Speculative Governance of the Smart Wall

Serious issues raised by advances in algorithmic immigration and border control: addressing the smart wall.

Progress through (surveillance-) technology?

Mileage status, tire pressure, driving behavior – nowadays, modern cars already collect these and many other data via built-in sensors and computers. With the help of this information, a complete...

»Operational« control of the crowd

Although the strong surveillance of the working, as was common in the industrial work, appears to have gone out of style, it seems as if crowdworking brings it back altogether…

Seeing Without Being Seen: The Map as a Medium for Simulated Surveillance

An illuminated, 170 square meter satellite photograph of Berlin covers floor and walls of the exhibition space of the former Stasi-prison in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen – it visualises the surveillance network of…

Social Scoring – a Chinese invention?

Chinas Social Scoring System ist in aller Munde, wenn es um totale Überwachung geht. Die „westliche Welt“ distanziert sich. Zu Recht? Ohne Frage. Allerdings wäre eine ausführliche Reflexion über hiesige…

Konfuzius im 3. Jahrtausend: Chinas „Social Credit System“ als Turbo zur Selbstvervollkommnung?

Ein Interview mit dem China-Bildungsexperten Jürgen Henze The social credit system in China: What looks like a dystopia in Germany, in contrast, is treated as an utopia in China. In…

Packaging and scholarship – a summary of Zuboff’s talk during the Making Sense of the Digital Society lecture series.

Is the following information relevant to you?: Tech companies collect and sell your data to business consumers, in some cases since the early 2000s. Strategies developed from analysis “nudge” your…

selected publications

HIIG Podcast


HIIG Expertise

Digitaler Salon

Game of Drones

HIIG Expertise

Data Protection as a Service

HIIG Expertise

Privacy in a digital society