What are key factors of change?

Information technologies are based upon data and give data a key role in the digital society. Yet our understanding of the increasing relevance of data is far from complete. Better access to data, information, education and knowledge, transparency and networks empower the individual and bring about opportunities for the democratic model; they may profoundly change governance as well as relationships in the public and private sector. On the one hand, big-data-based analytics and predictive policies allow for more efficient business and public administration; on the other hand, new modes of surveillance challenge established relations in labour-, health-, insurance-, security systems and markets, and threaten individual freedoms and trust. The internet of things will multiply the amount of data. With innovative uses and analytics, they will have an increasing value in the digital society. Thus, we need to rethink our patterns of data ownership and flows, infrastructures and data security as well as our approaches to the protection of personal data and privacy, personal freedom and political participation in a globalised society. This will lead to more in depth research on particular aspects of change that have become apparent from three angles: actors, relationships and governance.

  1. Actors: How are (big) data – its production, collection, communication, analysis – changing actors (individuals, undertakings, public authorities), and their behaviour, power and role in society?
  2. Relationships: Are there different types of data ownership? How is data being traded? What business models are emerging? What types of infrastructure are being used to transport data? (structural dimension, research proposal: Assessors)
  3. Governance:
    • How is data get assigned to individuals – in the case of IoT? Is confidence a risk and if so at what point in this process?
    • Does data protection and privacy serve as a test case for emerging regulatory structures at the global level? (global privacy governance)