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Hacker Attacks and IT Management: Insurance against Cyber Risks

The number of attacks on IT systems has been increasing for years. They target small as well as big companies, state institutions as well as private individuals. The damage they cause can be enormous, not only in financial terms: in digital-ised environments, resilient IT is a key requirement for trustworthiness. Effective and reliable operation of production and supply chains depend on it and so does the data security of customer, patient and business partners. Everyone who consciously engages with digitality knows this and is aware of associated risks. Nevertheless – as studies show time and again – in many cases too little is in-vested in IT security. And although there are insurances specifically against “cyber risks” on offer by now, by no means do all companies whose integrity depends on IT security purchase them.

Florian Salm is an expert for cyber risks at Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG and a lecturer at the University of Hamburg. Ulrich Greveler is Professor of Applied Computer Science at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences and, as an IT security expert, also a consultant and assessor for cyber risks. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, these two experts explain from a technical and insurance perspective what constitutes “well made” IT – and how companies can implement it. They explain how insurance companies help – not only in the event of an incident, but also in closing existing security gaps before something happens. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, they discuss why IT security is still difficult to implement in many companies, who bears responsibility for the security of systems in a networked society – and what it means that some risks of future technologies and large IT projects are not insurable.

Episode 27 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Florian Salm of Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG and Ulrich Greveler of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, 27 September 2022
Further informationen:

Link to Ulrich Greveler’s website: https://www.ulrich-greveler.de/english
Link to survey “Gothaer KMU-Studie 2022: Cyberangriffe größte Bedrohung für Mittelständler”: https://presse.gothaer.de/pressreleases/gothaer-kmu-studie-2022-cyberangriffe-groesste-bedrohung-fuer-mittelstaendler-3182062

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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Rare Raw Materials and Electronic Waste: On the Materiality and Recycling Problems of Digitality

Digitalisation, like our economic model, is geared towards growth. But to what extent does the resource consumption of digitality grow when more and more things have to be available faster and faster? It quickly becomes clear that digitality is not “immaterial” at all when you think of the many raw materials we use for it. And the demand is growing all the time. In Europe and Germany, we hardly notice the luxurious hardware of the digital. Raw materials usually only become a public issue here when they are not available in the usual way. For us, what counts most is the increasingly powerful technology that we consume or take for granted as part of our environment. We are used to regularly buying new devices because the old ones can no longer keep up with the successor models. Supposedly “obsolete” items that could continue to be used or at least recycled then often disappear in a drawer or simply in the trash.

However, the resources for new smartphones and laptops – especially metals – are usually mined elsewhere in the world at great expense. Or poorly paid workers recover them from scrap devices, possibly using methods that cause harm to nature and people. Industrialised countries like Germany have only recently started to promote their own efficient recycling practices for e-waste. These projects are complex. They promise paths to a more ecologically sustainable digitality, but also react to geopolitical developments. And whether they achieve their goals – less dependence and more sustainability – depends not only on technical progress in the field of professional recycling.

Mathias Schluep is managing director of the World Resources Forum and an expert on environmental sustainability in the resource cycle. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the environmental engineer explains where our use of resources for digital causes damage to the environment and people’s health, describes places and structures that are affected and how international projects and cooperatives are tackling these problems. It describes what opportunities for recycling exist and how well they are being implemented. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Schluep discusses political motivations for a sustainable use of valuable resources and also what role – and power! – consumers have in this matter.

Episode 26 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Mathias Schluep of the World Resources Forum, 9 September 2022
Further informationen:

Link to the website of the World Resources Forum: https://www.wrforum.org/

Link to an SRF-documentary about the former e-waste scrap heap in Agbogbloshie, Ghana, feat. Mathias Schluep: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DFjA2Y1RXU

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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Death, mourning and legacy: What changes through digitality?

Death poses great challenges to each and every individual. Whether it is to understand and accept one’s own mortality or to integrate the death of an important, perhaps beloved person into one’s own continued life. Just as digitalisation is changing our lives, it adds new dimensions to the end of our life. On a practical level, tasks arise in the care of estates, which raise their own technical, legal and also ethical questions through online accounts, identities on the net and digital communication traces. But mourning and remembrance are also seeking and finding new – also more individual – ways of expression in digital spaces by expanding the physical places, temporal boundaries and established patterns of our rituals.

Stephan Neuser is Secretary General of the Bundesverband Deutscher Bestatter e. V. and a lawyer. He experiences on a daily basis the changes that digitality brings to the way people deal with death. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert provides insights into new possibilities, requirements and needs that are leading to a change in funeral culture and answers questions about the digital estate. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, he discusses digital forms of mourning and remembrance culture, how they tie in with existing practices and motifs – complementing or reinterpreting them – and what significance the “analogue” retains in the process or also: acquires anew.

Episode 25 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Stephan Neuser of Bundesverband Deutscher Bestatter e. V. , 16 August 2022
Further informationen:

Webseite of Deutscher Bestatter e. V.

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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What is the Darknet and what happens there?

The term “darknet” is usually directly associated with crime in the public mind. However, very few people know what exactly this word means, what functions and structures it denotes – and even if a different impression can easily arise: according to our jurisdiction, neither surfing nor operating sites on the darknet are illegal per se. On the contrary, the infrastructure of the darknet is also used for purposes that are not only in line with democratic law, but can even prove to be important instruments for strengthening democracy, preserving individual freedom and protecting privacy. Corresponding arguments come up again and again in debates about possible interventions or even a de facto ban of the “anonymous internet”. So does the darknet simply have “bad” and “good” sides? And do we have to live with the fact that this technology, as long as it serves whistleblowing, political opposition or good journalism, also fosters serious and most serious crime?

Dr. Kai Denker is a philosopher, computer scientist and historian. He researches and teaches at the Institute of Philosophy at the Technical University of Darmstadt and has also dealt intensively with the Darknet. In this episode of “Digitalgespräch”, the expert on net cultures explains technical basics and gives an impression of possibilities the Darknet offers for different users with different intentions. He discusses with hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring why many net activists defend the darknet in its current form despite its bad reputation, which basic values play a role in this context, which technical aspects of the darknet are crucial for its democracy-promoting functions – and which others could possibly be dispensed with in favour of fighting crime, at least in theory.

Episode 24 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Kai Denker of the Technical University of Darmstadt, 5 July 2022
Further informationen:

Link to the Website of the Tor Project:
https://www.torproject.org/

Link to an article on the Website of the BKA (from 2017):
https://www.bka.de/SharedDocs/Reden/DE/vogtArtikelDarknet.html

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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High-performance computing on issues of the future: The German Climate Computing Centre

If we want to keep climate change within tolerable limits and foresee the changes we will face, then we must make climate as calculable as possible. Climate research has therefore become increasingly significant in recent decades, for policy makers as well public discourse. How do scientists arrive at the results that we perceive as scenarios, forecasts and warnings? Part of the answer is: on the basis of simulations, for which mathematical climate models have to be combined with large amounts of data. In Germany, researchers have had access to the German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ) in Hamburg since the late 1980s – a high-performance computing centre that is maintained by the public sector specifically for the purpose of climate research and which, in addition to computing time on optimised supercomputers, also offers broad support and services for its users. What exactly happens at DKRZ and how does it differ from other high-performance computing centres? What contribution does it make – to science in Germany and in international cooperation? Could modern technologies such as quantum computers or machine learning help us to understand the climate better and more quickly in the future? And: What does the climate impact of climate computing look like?

Prof. Thomas Ludwig is a computer scientist and heads the German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ). As a scientist, he also researches and teaches at the University of Hamburg. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert for scientific computing presents the mission of this special computing centre. In the process, Ludwig also explains how high-performance computing has developed since the 1990s and how the interaction between scientific modelling and the possibilities offered by state-of-the-art supercomputers leads to breakthroughs in climate research. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Ludwig discusses what concrete benefits the results of climate research and data collected in the process can bring to other scientific communities and the public, whether research infrastructure receives too little attention – and why it’s not such a big deal if incorrect weather forecasts become a little more incorrect through machine learning.

Episode 23 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Thomas Ludwig of the German Climate Computing Centre, 14 June 2022
Further informationen:

Link to the Website of the German Climate Computing Centre: https://dkrz.de/en

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Open source for the public sector: The example of Schleswig-Holstein

Our information society has developed into dependencies that are really quite unacceptable: A few digital corporations dictate prices and terms of business, because no one can avoid using their software any more. We also have to rely blindly on the integrity of international supply chains. So we are far from being in control of the functionality and functioning of our digital infrastructures. Moreover, the systems we use often do not meet European requirements, e.g. in terms of data protection and fundamental rights. At the very least, a reasonable, i.e. controllable, digitality requires that the functioning of our technology remains comprehensible and is also designed to be legally compliant. A keyword that comes up again and again is becoming relevant for the public sector as well: Open Source.

The computer scientist Marit Hansen is the data protection commissioner of the state of Schleswig-Holstein – the first German federal state that has undertaken to convert the entire public administration, schools and authorities completely to open source. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert explains how this strategy came about, how such a plan is put into practice, how to motivate politicians, employees and IT experts to pull together, and also how cooperation is developing within the federal government and Europe. Hansen discusses with hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring what role open source plays for the long-term goal of digital sovereignty, why not only the software but also the hardware must be “open”, what the state’s IT competence looks like – and why, despite all the failures, there is something good to be gained from the slowness in the digitisation of German administration.

Episode 22 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Marit Hansen, data protection commissioner of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, 24 May 2022
Further informationen:

Link to press release “Digitalisierung in Schleswig-Holstein – Chancen durch Open Source” (18 June 2018): https://www.datenschutzzentrum.de/artikel/1245-Digitalisierung-in-Schleswig-Holstein-Chancen-durch-Open-Source.html

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From data protection to data sovereignty: informational self-determination in the digital society

Although the fundamental right to informational self-determination in our democracy is still valid: the rules and demands of data protection are at least controversial. It is not only that consistent data protection can hardly be guaranteed in practice. It systematically fails because of non-transparent business models or the carelessness of consumers who thoughtlessly share their data and data traces. Moreover, the question increasingly arises whether data protection does not restrict citizens’ interest in actively using their personal data for their own and society’s benefit. If the alternative is only “protect” or “give away”, we cannot impose conditions on the use of our data. Nor can we invest it purposefully, let it work in a controlled way, as it were. Examples from medical research are obvious, for example when patients want to “donate” data in their own interest. And even beyond health issues, individuals are hindered or even prevented from participating in the potentials of big data. Collective interests can also hardly be linked to data sharing. Thus, new concepts of data sovereignty question classical data protection: instead of the idea of protecting and shielding, the motive of a responsible, productive and creative use of the data that we generate in our daily lives should come into play.

Prof. Dr. Steffen Augsberg teaches and researches at Justus Liebig University in Giessen and is a member of the German Ethics Council. The specialist on questions about the ethical implications of our constitutional rights is also a proven expert on the idea of data sovereignty. In this episode of “Digitalgespräch”, he explains the concepts concerned and how data protection and data sovereignty are related to the right to informational self-determination. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, he discusses where the development of data sovereignty as a new guiding paradigm could go, which questions arise about practical implementation, security and trust, and why data protection still remains an option – just not the only one.

Episode 21 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Steffen Augsberg of Justus Liebig University Giessen, 3 May 2022
Further informationen:

Link to the statement of the German Ethics Council on Big Data and Health: https://www.ethikrat.org/en/publications/publication-details/?tx_wwt3shop_detail%5Bproduct%5D=4&tx_wwt3shop_detail%5Baction%5D=index&tx_wwt3shop_detail%5Bcontroller%5D=Products&cHash=7bb9aadb656b877f9dbd49a61e39df2f

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.

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From cartoons to Instagram: “perfect pictures” impact children’s self and body image

Instagram is the realm of perfect images. Adults who access social media at a later stage in life, as well as younger people who grow up with it, know that those pictures have little to do with the analogue reality behind these idealised worlds. Nevertheless, elaborately staged and digitally edited images with which influencers reach young and very young people in particular have an impact. Often, insecurities arise in viewers which are fed by discrepancies: between one’s own appearance and that of professionally good-looking models, between real bodies and their idealised images, between the diffuse feeling of having to be perfect while experiencing failure. Of course, such moments do not only arise in the digital world. But they accumulate and intensify where the preoccupation with perfection intensifies – and a large part of the image platform Instagram has developed into a veritable stage of flawlessness. For girls and young women in particular, Instagram therefore poses risks to their self-esteem: despite all the efforts towards modernity and emancipation, appearance still seems to play a defining role for them.

Media scientist and media educator Maya Götz heads the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) at Bayerischer Rundfunk. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert explains how boys and girls deal with media as well as media content, where the social environment sets the course for such differences to develop between sexes and genders and what role children’s first smartphones play. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Götz discusses where the influence of social media on the development of body images begins to be harmful, why girls still have narrower scope for their individuality than boys and how this inequality might be reinforced by social media. trust plays in this.

Episode 20 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Maya Götz of International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) of Bayerischer Rundfunk, 12 April 2022
Further informationen:

Link to the study on the self-presentation of female influencers on Instagram: https://www.br-online.de/jugend/izi/deutsch/publikation/televizion/32_2019_1/Goetz-Die_Selbstinszenierung_von_Influencerinnen.pdf

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AI in conflict: international norms for lethal autonomous weapon systems

Automation, especially with the help of Artificial Intelligence, should make all kinds of processes faster, more efficient and more precise. The aim is to bypass humans as a limiting factor and create competitive advantages. In the military, this takes on a directly existential dimension: for some years now, artificial intelligence systems have increasingly become part of military equipment and machinery. They can support, prepare or even independently carry out combat operations. In the military, this takes on a directly existential dimension: for some years now, artificial intelligence systems have increasingly become part of military equipment and machinery. Although corresponding negotiations were initiated at UN level in 2013, it has not even been decided among the states involved whether regulation will even be sought. The process is to be continued in Geneva at the beginning of March 2022, but even before Russia’s attack on Ukraine on 24 February 2022, observers saw little chance of a productive process – the supposed advantage that militaries see in LAWS is too great for them to want to commit to renouncing it.

One of the observers of the negotiations within the framework of the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) is Anja Dahlmann, head of Berlin Office of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg and member of the International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons (iPRAW). In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the political scientist explains the significance and status of the negotiations and outlines the positions taken by various states. She describes which weapons systems are at stake, how and by whom they are being developed and what we know about their progress. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Dahlmann discusses what regulatory attempts are aiming at and why they are being pushed forward despite all resistance. The interview was recorded on 17 February 2022, one week before Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Episode 18 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Anja Dahlmann of Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, 1 March 2022
Further informationen:

Link to Anja Dahlmann’s profile on the website of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy of Universität Hamburg: https://ifsh.de/en/staff/dahlmann

Link to Campaign to Stop Killer Robots : https://www.stopkillerrobots.org/

Link to iPRAW : https://www.ipraw.org/

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What is Gaia-X?

One hears the name “Gaia-X” more and more often. A new infrastructure is supposed to mediate in the conflict between data protection and growing demands for effective data use. But Gaia-X is also a word of hope in terms of industrial policy: innovative concepts for data sovereignty are to give rise to data products that are in harmony with European values and laws. Europe aims at finding independent, democratic forms of digitality. But how can this be done? In any case, given the market dominance of mainly non-European corporations that currently define the rules and standards of digitality, realising this vision will require an enormous joint effort. In fact, Gaia-X is already on its way and making great strides. However, details are still scarcely known outside expert circles. Therefore, the infrastructure on which the European data ecosystem is to be built is the topic of this episode of Digitalgespräch.

Boris Otto is Professor of Industrial Information Management at TU Dortmund University and Managing Director of the Fraunhofer ISST. In the context of the Gaia-X project he has held various central roles and thus has played a significant part in shaping the developments. In this episode of Digitalgespräch the expert and insider explains exactly what Gaia-X actually is about, which drivers, interests and conditions determine the design and how the progress – and ultimately the success – of the project will be measured. Together with ZEVEDI hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Otto discusses the effects Gaia-X can have for companies as well as private individuals and which hurdles will still have to be overcome.

Episode 17 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Boris Otto of Technische Universität Dortmund and Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST, 8 February 2022
Further informationen:

Gaia-X website: https://www.gaia-x.eu/

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.