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Predictive policing and its consequences: Data analysis in police work

Of all the digital tools available to the police in their work, hardly any have caused as much of a stir as “predictive policing”. For some years now, technologies for predictive policing have been used in different German states – with the Hessian police were among the first to use it. Since then, Since then,  sometimes unrealistic ideas about its potential have been circulating among both opponents and supporters of its implementation. Nevertheless, it is clear that the pressure of digitalisation has affected police work and will bring about further changes. It should be just as clear though, that people must be able to rely on their fundamental rights being respected when algorithms generate suspicions with the help of databases and models – especially since, from a scientific point of view, it is anything but certain that methods like predictive policing work at all.

As a sociologist, Simon Egbert has studied the effects of automated data analyses and taken a close look at predictive policing. In this episode of “Digitalgespräch”, he explains the technologies behind it, how they work and are being used, and how they differ from other digital policing methods – that might deserve at least as much media attention. In the ZEVEDI podcast, he talks with hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring about the hype and reality of predictive policing, possible consequences for the everyday work of police officers and the dangers for citizens’ rights.

Episode 8 of “Digitalgespräch”, feat. Simon Egbert of Universität Bielefeld , 21. September 2021


Further informationen:

Link to the open access publication “Criminal Futures: Predictive Policing and Everyday Police Work” by Simon Egbert and Matthias Leese:
https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/oa-mono/10.4324/9780429328732/criminal-futures-simon-egbert-matthias-leese

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DE-CIX and the architecture of the internet

The history of the internet as we know and use it today is also and especially a history of its commercialisation. In Germany, it is a household commodity, like water and electricity. Mobile Internet and WLAN surround us almost everywhere like the air we breathe – and we can easily buy our personal access from multiple providers. Nevertheless, the public internet is not regulated: the rules by which it functions have been negotiated since its beginnings in the 1990s by those who bring it to market. What were the circumstances under which these far-reaching decisions were made? Who was involved? What was important in the process and what potentials are emerging today?

 

Harald A. Summa is founder and CEO of eco –  Association of the Internet Industry and CEO of one of the most important internet nodes in the world, the DE-CIX in Frankfurt a. M. In his roles, he has contributed significantly to the current design and gigantic dimensions of the web and continues to contribute to the development of the internet of the future. In “Digitalgespräch”, Summa talks about the first years of commercial internet, describes the most important course settings and also explains technical relations. With the hosts of the ZEVEDI podcast – Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring – he discusses the significance of the unwritten laws of the self-regulated internet, how their interaction with its physical realisation also affects content and services, and gives an outlook on upcoming developments.

Episode 7 of “Digitalgespräch”, feat. Harald A. Summa of eco – Association of the Internet Industry, 9 September 2021


Further information:
Link to Harald A. Summa’s website:
https://harald-a-summa.de/


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Data carriers, data services, data traces: academic libraries and publishers in the digital transformation

When entering academic libraries, it might not be obvious what comprehensive digital services they already offer their users. Of course, they also provide digital media in addition to classic data carriers such as written works, images, audio tapes, microfilms and many more, but it does by no means end here: in particular, libraries have developed into competent companions in the use of digital research techniques and can advise and support scientists at every stage of their work process. Starting with research and data management, through the writing process and publication, they work out customised strategies together with the individual scientist – in direct contact and according to subject-specific and personal requirements.

In view of digitisation, some large academic publishers have also adapted their offerings and developed services through which the individual researcher receives support in their entire work process through digital products. Unlike libraries, which are still physical places where one can meet human contact persons and experts, publishers get to know scientists through tracking. From the data they gain in order to get to know the users of their products as well as possible, comprehensive profiles can be generated that not only serve the scientists in their work, but can themselves become a commodity – and governments may also be interested.

Katrin Stump is an expert in both worlds: The Executive Director of Braunschweig University Library is Chairperson of the DFG’s Committee on Scientific Library Services and Information Systems (AWBI). She therefore not only knows the development of the digital library beyond the mighty bookshelves in detail, but has also dealt intensively with the new business models of scientific publishers. A paper on data tracking in research which the AWBI published in May 2021 can be understood as a wake-up call. In this sixth episode of the ZEVEDI podcast, she explains what digital offerings libraries are making today, how they come about and are accessible and how academic libraries cooperate with small and large publishers. With “Digitalgespräch”-hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, she also discusses the results of the AWBI’s information paper, focusing on what dangers emanate from current practices of large academic publishers and what is necessary in order to shape digitality in research practice while respecting the freedom of science as well as the individual.

Episode 6 of “Digitalgespräch”, feat. Katrin Stump of the University Library Braunschweig, 3 August 2021


Further information:
To the briefing paper “Data tracking in research: aggregation and use or sale of usage data by academic publishers of the AWBI of DFG (English version published June 2021): https://www.dfg.de/download/pdf/foerderung/programme/lis/datentracking_papier_en.pdf


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Data surgery? Intelligent technology in the operating theatre

In recent years, rapid advances in computer science and AI research have brought an overwhelming variety of technological innovations into the view of policymakers and the public. While promising great benefits and new possibilities, their potential also raises pressing questions – the prediction that AI will change the world is ambivalent. In order to understand how this change is taking place, we need to look into details: What kind of intelligent systems are we talking about in each case? What aims are they developed for, how will they be used, and what role will humans play in those scenari-os? Answers to these questions arise at the interfaces between computer science and our reality of life and are therefore as specific as the resulting AI systems themselves.

One of these interfaces is the field of translational surgical oncology, i.e. the development of AI systems in surgical cancer therapy. Computer scientist Prof. Dr. Stefanie Speidel teaches and researches at the National Center for Tumor Diseases in Dresden and develops intelligent systems for the operating theatre as well as surgical training. In the fifth episode of “Digitalgespräch”, she explains the tools she and her colleagues are developing, how she is collaborating with scientists and practitioners of other disciplines, as well as patients and industry partners, and clarifies the question of whether human experts or artificial neural networks will make the vital decisions during operations in the future. With ZEVEDI-hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring she discusses how physicians and patients can benefit from AI systems, what obstacles have to be overcome during the long development process ahead- but also what active role patients will play in this.

Episode 5 of “Digitalgespräch” feat. Stefanie Speidel, National Center for Tumor Deseases in Dresden, 20 Juli 2021


Further informationen:
Link to the website of the Department of Translational Surgical Oncology at the NCT/UCC Dresden:
https://www.nct-dresden.de/en/research/departments-and-groups/translational-surgical-oncology.html



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AI and Finance

Finance has always been geared to gaining knowledge about economic conditions and developments through skillful analysis of cleverly generated data. Over the centuries, it has undergone a number of innovation processes. We are now in the midst of dynamic developments that are characterized by digitality – and as is the case in many other places, technologies that are counted as artificial intelligence are becoming more and more important. Florian Möslein is a legal scholar who teaches and researches at Philipps University of Marburg. In this fourth episode of “Digitalgespräch”, the expert on digitality and innovation talks about applications of Artificial Intelligence as seen today in the financial markets. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, he discusses the challenges that the digitization of financial markets poses for market participants, politics and society.

Episode 4 of “Digitalgespräch” feat. Florian Möslein of Philipps-Universität Marburg, 6. Juli 2021


Further informationen:
Link to Florian Möslein’s department at the University of Marburg:
https://www.uni-marburg.de/de/fb01/professuren/zivilrecht/prof-dr-florian-moesleinhttps://www.uni-marburg.de/de/fb01/professuren/zivilrecht/prof-dr-florian-moeslein

Link to Wikipedia article on Gamestop stock affair in early 2021:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GameStop_short_squeeze


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After Bitcoin: Rules in the world of blockchains and tokens

For some time now, the big star in the crypto token world – Bitcoin – has had to share attention with other blockchain applications. It is not only receiving competition from alternative cryptocurrencies – the possible applications that blockchain technologies are expected to offer are diverse and the interest is great, although German private law does not yet know any categories for the “token” – the object that is created as a blockchain.

Sebastian Omlor teaches and researches at Philipps University in Marburg. The legal scholar and financial expert deals with the problem of establishing legal certainty for blockchain applications. In this third episode of “Digitalgespräch”, he explains the concept of blockchain, what causes its appeal – and what might give the impression that it could replace jurisprudence in certain areas. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, he takes a look at the future of blockchain and discusses why despite its sophisticated technology it is worth creating well-made laws for it.

Episode 3 of “Digitalgespräch”, feat. Sebastian Omlor of Philipps-Universität Marburg, 22 June 2021


Further information:
About the research project “Blockchain und Recht” (“blockchain and law”): https://www.uni-marburg.de/de/fb01/aktuelles/nachrichten/marburger-juristen-erforschen-blockchain-technologie


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Emotet & co: the fight against cybercrime

Hardly a week goes by without reports about cyber attacks in the news. These much-noticed hacks often affect companies and government institutions, but private individuals are also the targets of criminal hackers. Most of the time, it’s simply about money; cybercrime has come to be a business model. Linda Bertram is a public prosecutor at the Center for Combatting Cybercrime (ZIT). She and her team hunt down such groups and are just as internationally networked as the hackers they pursue. In this podcast, she talks to Petra Gehring and Marlene Görger about the major strike against the group behind Emotet, the “king of malware,” which succeeded in early 2021 and caused quite a stir. She explains what cybercrime is, how investigators tackle it and how individuals can protect themselves. This second episode of “Digitalgespräch” also asks what considerations the rule of law requires of investigative teams and what limits it sets for them.

Episode 2 of “Digitalgespräch”, feat. Linda Bertram of the Center for Combatting Cybercrime (ZIT) , 8 June 2021


Further information:
Link to an Ukrainian police video showing an operation against hackers behind Emotet:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BLOmClsSpc


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Putting surveillance to measure

In 2010 the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) made clear that state surveillance must be limited in a democratic society: Authorities have to make sure that not too much surveillance is carried out when introducing new measures. Since then, the scientific community has been faced with a difficult question: how can surveillance be estimated quantitatively? Legal scholar Prof. Dr. Ralf Poscher is, among other things, Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law in Freiburg, where he has taken on this task. His conviction: it is possible to quantify the state’s surveillance activities, and we should do so – using tools and possibilities offered by digitization. The goal could be to develop a “surveillance barometer” that would allow us to keep an eye on surveillance in the future. In this first episode of “Digitalgespräch”, Ralf Poscher explains to Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring how this could be achieved, what benefits it would have, and what surprises the objective figures of surveillance hold.

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

Episode 1 of “Digitalgespräch”, feat. Ralf Poscher of the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law , 26 May 2021


Further information:

Link to the expert report on surveillance scenarios relevant to the “surveillance barometer” (in German):
https://www.freiheit.org/de/ueberwachungsgesamtrechnung-wie-der-staat-buerger-ueberwacht


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Digitalgespräch – from 26 May 2021

“Digitalgespräch” is a ZEVEDI podcast for people who want to know first-hand what is happening in the field of digitality and what challenges scientists, politicians and society are facing. Each episode is dedicated to a selected aspect and topic. The hosts – Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring – invite experts who share their knowledge talking about their current fields of work, projects and perspectives, putting the spotlight on complex fields of action and thus helping to lift the fog of big buzzwords. 

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





Trailer: A taste of “Digitalgespräch”, 24 May 2021

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