Zum Inhalt springen
Screen Shot 2020-07-09 at 11.53.14

Liber Amicorum for Ingolf Pernice

This liber amicorum is dedicated to Ingolf Pernice, one of the founding directors of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) in Berlin, Germany. The HIIG wasn’t Ingolf’s only – or even his most important – waypoint in his career inside and outside academia, but maybe a comparatively challenging one and hopefully one of the most insightful. This waypoint was challenging because Ingolf stepped out of his academic comfort zone in more than one way. He stepped out of the sphere of legal scholarship at a renowned law faculty of a long-established university, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, into an interdisciplinary brawl in an emerging academic field – internet research. He joined an academic institution that rather resembled a startup, a wholly different way of interacting, collaborating and innovating than within the halls of the academic ivory tower. However, he rose to the challenge formidably.

Ingolf was integral to forming the diverse crowd of people with their different disciplinary backgrounds and academic histories into the institute that we know today. And this waypoint was insightful, because Ingolf never stopped questioning conventional assumptions, supposed truths and traditional solutions in his endeavour to better understand the increasing digitisation of society, from state bureaucracy to everyday life, and its implications for individuals and the society as a whole. In this endeavour, he went beyond the constraints of existing legal thinking, he ventured into the unknown, tried to put concepts borrowed from different disciplines to use and tested them for their ability to provide new insights into the law in the digital constellation, into the future of the law beyond the nation state and into the constitutionalisation processes on the global level.

Central to Ingolf’s thinking was and is always and uncompromisingly the individual and the question of how he or she can evolve from an object of social regulation into its subject. How he or she can become the sovereign of a community in a self-determined and self-responsible manner, regardless of whether this community is a state, Europe or the world. He asks how fundamental rights and freedoms can overcome their artificial limitation to nation states. How we can create a global, democratically legitimised order that puts the individual at the centre, strengthens his or her rights and freedoms, and in which decisions can only claim legitimacy if they are clearly based on the demos of individuals and their decision-making.

Consequently, the central focus of his academic work in recent years has been to establish the human being as a point of reference and as an actor in international law – as a bearer of fundamental rights, as a source of legitimacy for socially binding political decisions and as a co-decision maker. With his work, he aims to make use of positive as well as negative experiences in different forums – from local participatory budgeting to the global Internet Governance Forum – in order to strengthen the direct involvement of all stakeholders, especially citizens, in deliberation and decision-making. He has always paid particular attention to the question of how information and communication technologies can be used to strengthen the transparency of political action, accountability and participation – online and offline.

We brought together a small collection of friends, colleagues and disciples to contribute to this volume. They have worked with Ingolf, in projects under his lead or where he contributed or engaged in discussions at HIIG, or engaged with concepts that Ingolf helped shape. They were influenced by Ingolf’s work or in scientific interchange with him. Either way, the contributions in this volume show the wide variety of fields and topics where Ingolf left his mark. They also convey that they are connected beyond Ingolf as a person as they deal with how the digital society can be shaped – as a global, sustainable, democratically legitimised, rights and freedoms-protecting order.


Jörg Pohle, Rüdiger Schwarz, Ulrike Höppner: Researching Global Constitutionalism and the Internet at HIIG: The Game is On

HIIG’s Global Constitutionalism and the Internet research group’s history and achievements are well worth sharing. Focusing on new legal and institutional approaches to transnational and global governance for a digital society, the research group can look back on an eventful, insightful and successful history which is impressively demonstrated by this volume.
Read here
Edoardo Celeste: Constitutionalism in the Digital Age

Values and principles of constitutionalism have constantly evolved. In the rapidly changing context of the digital society, can we speak of a new form of ‘digital’ constitutionalism? Are we witnessing a revolution of contemporary constitutionalism?
Read here
Christian Djeffal: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence the European Way

The European Declaration on Artificial Intelligence marked a changing point in the strategic development of artificial intelligence. While some countries have previously framed the development of AI as weapons race, the Declaration put forward a new approach. It is integrative on different levels as it integrates countries, policy areas and societal values.
Read here
Jeanette Hofmann: Digitalisierung, Öffentlichkeit, Demokratie – drei Thesen

One effect of digital transformation is that it brings to our attention features of mediatised democracy that we took for granted as long as they were intact. With the changes we are witnessing, we are also becoming aware again that we can decide on and shape democratic structures and procedures.

Read here

Julian Hölzel: Anmerkungen zur Systemrelativität des Personenbezuges im Datenschutzrecht

Although the concept of personal data has been introduced to the legal sphere more than four decades ago, its foundations are still arguably brittle. While the jurisdiction has settled in its pragmatic approach on a case-to-case basis, theoretical inquiries in the application problem of personal data are still scarce. This contribution criticises the largely objectivist understanding of the concept as is commonly held and reminds about its fundamental quality: the relativity to the interpretive system.

Read here

Matthias C. Kettemann: Taking Ingolf Pernice Seriously

Taking people seriously in an age of powerful companies and states, that do not always focus on ensuring their citizens' rights online allows us – and Ingolf Pernice laid the groundwork – to think about constitutionalizing the most ungoverned socio-political arena of all: the internet.

Read here

Kai von Lewinski: “Data Spaces”: Data Structures as a Question of Law

Big data and large databases are ressources of power, both in the political and the economic context. Surprisingly, the role of their structures and formats are not addressed at all by current data law. New legal approaches have to be found—or might be rediscovered in 1970s “Rechtsinformatik” (German legal informatics).

Read here

Jörg Pohle: On Measuring Fundamental Rights Protection – Can and Should Data Protection Law Learn From Environmental Law

Today’s data protection debate and law are characterised by oversimplified quantifications with their almost sole focus on the data subjects’ identifiability and the number of affected people. It is time to develop suitable measurable indicators that directly address the fundamental rights and freedoms at stake, with the promises they entail and the spheres of freedom they create.

Read here

About HIIG

The HIIG researches the development of the internet from a societal perspective with the aim to better understand the digitalisation of all spheres of life.

Our Journals

Keep in touch

Would you like to receive the latest news on internet and social research? Subscribe to our newsletters.