Data, actors, infrastructures: The Governance of data-driven innovation and cyber security

Research Programme: Actors, Data, Infrastructures/Daten, Akteure, Infrastrukturen

Just one word, said while you’re reading a newspaper in the morning and a device will recognise and record your voice and your request. You want to listen to some music? You want to put groceries on your shopping list? The smart home device will get you in the right mood, because she has access to all the data you entered into her, past and present, and will organise your lists according to your wishes. 

In this case, how can we secure sensitive data and who guarantees the user’s privacy? What responsibilities fall to private companies and what legal steps should be taken to balance the risks and adjust them in line with changing technologies? Digitally connected devices can do outstanding things. But they may also have negative implications for every aspect of your life, since we live in a world where data is an important resource for economies, governments, private corporations and the individuals using it. 

Research Programme II – The relationship between actors, data and infrastructures in the digital society

seeks to analyse the potential and deal with the risks of data-driven innovation. Innovation processes, particularly in the area of information technologies, are mostly driven by data processing, which makes data an important resource 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 both citizens and private companies alike and offer opportunities to improve societal welfare in the digitised democratic civil society. New opportunities and methods of collecting, processing and analysing data may profoundly change governance and relations between actors in the public and private sector.

On the one hand, data-driven analytics will allow existing services to become more efficient and totally new services to emerge. On the other hand, new modes of data analysis and surveillance will challenge established relations in labour, health, insurance, cybersecurity systems and markets, as well as in public administration. They will also threaten individual freedoms and trust. The internet of things (IoT) will multiply the amount of data that is available. Therefore, this research programme is aiming to rethink our understanding of data infrastructures, data ownership and data flows, as well as our approaches to data protection and cybersecurity, privacy, personal freedom and political participation in a globalised digital society. This includes understanding the implications of the changes for governance structures and processes at large.

Actors, relationships and governance

Currently, the research programme has three sets of questions:

  • Actors: How is data – its production, collection, communication, analysis and use – changing actors (individuals, companies, public authorities) and their behaviour, power and role in society?
  • Relationships: Are there different types of data ownership? How is data being produced, shared and used? What new products, services and business models are emerging? What types of infrastructure are being used to transmit data?
  • Governance: How is data assigned to individuals, private companies and public authorities? What are the informal and formal rules to get access to and use data? What are the concepts and possible strategies for establishing common standards and regulations on data protection and cybersecurity at the global level, which are important as a basis for trust and the proper functioning of the internet?

The research on the governance of data-driven innovation builds upon existing work that has already been done at the institute. This research programme extends and deepens this approach by focusing on particular issues, such as the setting up of open data innovation processes and structures, privacy and security-by-design and standards as a means of governance.

Research projects

HIIG has adopted an open and applied basic research approach that aims to enhance the transfer of its research results of these projects to many other areas such as connected cars, smart cities, eHealth, Industry 4.0, smart government, international data transfer, or voice recognition (in smart homes and in general).

Selected Publications

Djeffal, C. (2017). Leitlinien der Verwaltungsnovation und das Internet der Dinge: Vom E-Government Zum Smart Government Durch Verfassung, Gesetz, Organisation Und Strategie. HIIG Discussion Paper Series. Publication details

Hebing, M., Ebert, J. & Schildhauer, T. (2017). Startup Ökosysteme. Eine Studie des Alexander von Humboldt Instituts für Internet und Gesellschaft mit Unterstützung von Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie, Next Media Hamburg, Next Media Accelerator, Die Zeit. Publication details

Maier, H. & Jütte, B.J. (2017). A human right to sample—will the CJEU dance to the BGH-beat? Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice, 12(9), 784-796. Publication details

Richter, N., Schildhauer, T. (2017). Startup Clinics – Praxisforschung und „Erste Hilfe“ für Internet Startups. HIIG Discussion Paper Series, (forthcoming). Publication details

Staben, J. & Leisterer, H. (2017). International Cross-Surveillance: Global IT Surveillance Arbitrage and the Principle of Proportionality as a Counterargument. Surveillance & Society, 15(1), 108-122. Publication details


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