Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society


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Dear friends and fellow researchers,

The latest edition of our annual research magazine encore 2016 is hot off the press. We are glad to be able to share so many exciting findings and insights with you! Immerse yourself in the day-to-day working life of HIIG, read entertaining yet sophisticated interviews and celebrate five years of exploring the internet and society with us. Below, we’d like to share some more impressions with you and guide you through the digital sphere. We can already reveal this much: first, there is a draft for a Charter of Digital Fundamental Rights of the European Union – and you can still contribute! Second, did you know that our staff is talking about its favourite eye-opening books and articles in a new series on Facebook?

So much for our introductory remarks. Now enjoy reading!

Jeanette Hofmann | Ingolf Pernice | Thomas Schildhauer | Wolfgang Schulz

#digitalcharta | Further Steps towards Digital Fundamental Rights

Nowadays, we spend a significant part of our lives online. Yet even though people are continually adapting to the new technical possibilities that the virtual sphere offers, judicial regulation is lagging somewhat behind. By the beginning of December 2016, the time had come to take further steps towards a Charter of Digital Fundamental Rights of the European Union! Our director Jeanette Hofmann, who co-authored the published draft, explains its objectives and speaks about the controversies surrounding in an interview with DW. We appreciate the initiators’ idea to not only have an open discussion online but also organise a conference after the public comment phase this year.

| The draft’s public comment phase ends 31 January 2017


Pelagios | Linking the Places of our Past

This year, former HIIG fellow Rebecca Kahn has become a researcher at our institute. She is contributing to Pelagios Commons, a community and infrastructure project for Linked Open Geodata. Unlike one-way hyperlinks, this technology allows for multi-lateral connections between information objects. In order to explore and visualise historical places, Pelagios links source materials through their common reference to particular places.

| Have a look at one vivid example here


Hooray! | HIIG Researchers as #DigiKomm Speakers

If there is any one thing with the potential to counter post-truth statements, fake news and conspiracy theories, it’s good (or: better) communication. We are happy to announce that namesakes and HIIG researchers Christian Katzenbach and Christian Pentzold have become spokespersons for Fachgruppe Digitale Kommunikation! They were elected for a two-year term at their annual conference in Braunschweig. The Fachgruppe #DigiKomm serves as a platform for social scientists and researchers with a background in humanities.

| Christian Katzenbach’s dissertation


IGF2016 | The Power of the Non-Commercial Users

At 11th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) from 6–9 December 2016 in Jalisco (Mexiko), associate researcher Farzaneh Badiei co-organised and moderated a workshop about the power of non-commercial users on the internet. What have they achieved in terms of policymaking so far? Various issues were raised, such as civil society and academia activities at ICANN policymaking and their role in enhancing privacy and freedom of speech regarding domain name related policies.

| See also this Internet Policy Review article adressing ICANN


New Faces around the Space! | Welcoming our Guest Researchers

We are thrilled to be welcoming four new visiting researchers, who will be with us for the next few months! Lisa Guthermuth is project manager at Ranking Digital Rights. Melih Kırlıdoğ is an expert in the fields of ICT in developing countries, internet censorship and surveillance. Jens Pohlmann’s thesis seeks to evaluate the aesthetic significance of the internet and its impact on avant-garde literature, art and music. He finds two promising cases for his research in the punk band Einstürzende Neubauten and the street artist Banksy. Meropi Tzanetakis joined HIIG in 2016. She recently filled our kitchen for her lunch talk on anonymous drug markets on the internet.

| Have a look at the people behind HIIG


Staff Picks | Understanding the Digital Society

Amidst the talk of newcomers, we shouldn't forget all the “old hands” at HIIG, who are doing a great job every day! We thought you might be curious to find out what scientific articles opened our researcher’s eyes, or what books helped them most in understanding our digital society? So senior researcher Christian Katzenbach just asked his colleagues. The results are published on a weekly basis and are already among our widest-reaching Facebook postings.

| See the latest reading recommendations here


Replication | A Hallmark of Good Scientific Practice

In times of increasing publication rates and disciplinary specialisation, the scientific community is challenged to maintain high quality of research. An open science project, which was conducted together with DIW, has drawn attention to replication studies, which are considered necessary to detect erroneous research. So far, HIIG researcher Benedikt Fecher has contributed to two surveys and publications dealing with this issue.

| Benedikt’s latest IZA working paper

Open Data

Open Data | Value Creation in the Digital Age

Unfortunately, the current discourse on privacy and surveillance seems to be detracting attention from transparency and openness issues. This is even more a pity given that more and more companies are convinced that the openness and transparency will bring significant benefits and increase prosperity! Our research director Thomas Schildhauer contributed to a study about open data, published by Bertelsmann Stiftung.

| How can we profit from Open Data?


IGF2016 | UNESCO Human Rights and Encryption Study

Is encryption helping to create a better world? At the UNESCO workshop on “Encryption and safety of journalists”, HIIG research director Wolfgang Schulz presented his co-authored study on human rights and encryption.

| Have a look at his findings here


Call for Papers | Political Micro-targeting

Shortly after Trump’s election, a report about Cambridge Analytica made waves. Could profiling and political micro-targeting technologies really have played a decisive role in determining who moved into the White House? All this is reason enough for an Internet Policy Review special issue on “Political micro-targeting”. The deadline is 1 April 2017.

| Interested in submitting an abstract?

How to... | Set up Crowd Science Projects

The internet is changing research entirely! Thanks to emerging online citizen science platforms, scientists can outsource data-rich or labour-intensive tasks to volunteers. But how are crowd science projects set up? Time to find out! Read the new paper from HIIG researchers Kaja Scheliga, Sascha Friesike, Cornelius Puschmann and Benedikt Fecher on open science and crowdsourcing.

| Creative Commons licensed paper!


Towards Data Justice | 1 February 2017

All our communications, movements, relationships, and public and private interactions generate data that are used to profile and categorise us. Scary, eh? Then you’ll welcome the opportunity to learn more about datafication in a relaxed atmosphere. So get your lunch ready on Wednesday, 1 February 2017, and meet Arne Hintz in our kitchen! Arne is co-director of the Data Justice Lab. In this talk, he will explore what datafication means for social justice.

| Please register in advance



#DigSal: Make Fakten Relevant Again | 22 February 2017

We must confess – Brexit and Trump are both great sources of inspiration! Not only did they contribute to the success of “post-truth” as the word of the year, but they also helped us to come up with a charming #DigSal topic! Our second Digitaler Salon in 2017 will deal with “post-truth” difficulties: We are going to discuss whether emotions have replaced reason, and how enlightened citizens can oppose populism. How can we save democracy in times of newsbots, fear and filter bubbles?

| Let's make facts great again!


IoT & Trust: Researchers Conference | 22-23 February 2017

Remember the hype about networked, twitter-powered coffee machines? Unfortunately, brewing a coffee by sending a tweet appears to be (almost) as easy as hacking the whole thing. The challenges surrounding the IoT are even more evident when we look at smart factories and smart government. This raises questions about the interplay of trust and the IoT in the process of digitisation. So it’s good to be able to hear from the nine scholars and practitioners who will discuss their findings at a transdisciplinary conference in February!

| Explore the interplay of IoT adoption and trust!

Beyond HIIG

Beyond HIIG | Events that caught our eye

2 Feb – 5 Mar Transmediale (Berlin)

15 – 17 Mar 19th General Online Research Conference (Berlin)

20 – 21 Mar The Princeton-Fung Global Forum: Society 3.0+: Can liberty survive the digital age? (Berlin)

Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society
Französische Straße 9, D-10117 Berlin |