Recent Publications

This list includes some of our most recent publications. More publications will be added to this list gradually.

A Human-centric Perspective on Digital Consenting: The Case of GAFAM

Human, Soheil and Cech, Florian (2020) A Human-centric Perspective on Digital Consenting: The Case of GAFAM. In: Human Centred Intelligent Systems 2020, Jun 17, 2020 – Jun 19, 2020.

Abstract:

According to different legal frameworks such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an end-user’s consent constitutes one of the well-known legal bases for personal data processing. However, research has indicated that the majority of end-users have difficulty in understanding what they are consenting to in the digital world. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that marginalized people are confronted with even more difficulties when dealing with their own digital privacy. In this research, we use an enactivist perspective from cognitive science to develop a basic human-centric framework for digital consenting. We argue that the action of consenting is a sociocognitive action and includes cognitive, collective, and contextual aspects. Based on the developed theoretical framework, we present our qualitative evaluation of the consent-obtaining mechanisms implemented and used by the five big tech companies, i.e. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft (GAFAM). The evaluation shows that these companies have failed in their efforts to empower end-users by considering the human-centric aspects of the action of consenting. We use this approach to argue that their consent-obtaining mechanisms violate principles of fairness, accountability and transparency. We then suggest that our approach may raise doubts about the lawfulness of the obtained consent—particularly considering the basic requirements of lawful consent within the legal framework of the GDPR.

Machine Understandable Policies and GDPR Compliance Checking

Piero A. Bonatti, Sabrina Kirrane, Iliana M. Petrova, Luigi Sauro (2020), Machine Understandable Policies and GDPR Compliance Checking, KI – Künstliche Intelligenz Journal, 10.1007/s13218-020-00677-4 (to appear)

Internet Governance

Kettemann, Internet Governance, in Jahnel et al. (Hrsg.), Internetrecht, 4. Auflage (Wien: Springer, 2020), 47-73

The SPECIAL-K Personal Data Processing Transparency and Compliance Platform

Sabrina Kirrane, Javier D. Fernández, Piero Bonatti, Uros Milosevic, Axel Polleres, Rigo Wenning, The SPECIAL-K Personal Data Processing Transparency and Compliance Platform, arXiv Technical Report, CoRR, abs/2001.09461, 2020

Abstract:

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) brings new challenges for companies, who must provide transparency with respect to personal data processing and sharing within and between organisations. Additionally companies need to demonstrate that their systems and business processes comply with usage constraints specified by data subjects. This paper first presents the Linked Data ontologies and vocabularies developed within the SPECIAL EU H2020 project, which can be used to represent data usage policies and data processing and sharing events, including the consent provided by the data subject and subsequent changes to or revocation of said consent. Following on from this, we propose a concrete transparency and compliance architecture, referred to as SPECIAL-K, that can automatically verify that data processing and sharing complies with the relevant usage control policies. Our evaluation, based on a new transparency and compliance benchmark, shows the efficiency and scalability of the system with increasing number of events and users, covering a wide range of real-world streaming and batch processing scenarios.

Ein Menschenrechts-Update für das Internet

Kettemann, Ein Menschenrechts-Update für das InternetTagesspiegel Background Digitalisierung & KI, 17.6.2020, https://background.tagesspiegel.de/digitalisierung/ein-menschenrechts-update-fuer-das-internet.

Abstract:

Deutschland hat jetzt eine einzigartige Chance, global für eine menschenrechtsbasierte und entwicklungsorientierte Internetpolitik einzutreten. Gerade Corona hat gezeigt, wie wichtig digitale Rechte sind. Zeit für ein Update, schreibt Matthias Kettemann.

End-user Empowerment: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Gsenger, Rita, and Human, Soheil and Neumann, Gustaf (2020) End-user Empowerment: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. In: Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 2020, Jan 7, 2020 – Jan 10, 2020, Hawaii, United States.

Abstract:

In virtue of fast spreading emerging technologies, considering end-user empowerment (or human empowerment) while developing or adapting technologies gains importance. Even though many different approaches to end-user empowerment have been proposed, it is hardly clear what “end-user (human) empowerment” is and how it is possible to develop “end-user empowering systems”. This paper offers an interdisciplinary perspective on how it can be possible to arrive at a synthesized concept of end-user empowerment, in particular regarding the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The provided interdisciplinary perspective includes concepts from Computer Science, Information Systems, Cognitive Science, Psychology, Sociology, Science-Technology-Society, Design, System Science and Philosophy. Based on an interdisciplinary literature review, and from an enactivist, pluralist, and constructivist perspective, we argue that the individual end-users and their needs and values, as well as the environment (including socioeconomical contexts, other actors, etc.) and technologies they interact with, continuously co-create the conception of end-user empowerment. Moreover, we propose that perceiving technological development as co-creation, and considering technologies as value-bearers could provide the first steps in the development of conceptual frameworks required for the development of end-user empowering systems.

A decade of Semantic Web research through the lenses of a mixed methods approach

Sabrina Kirrane, Marta Sabou, Javier D. Fernández, Francesco Osborne, Cécile Robin, Paul Buitelaar, Enrico Motta, and Axel Polleres, A decade of Semantic Web research through the lenses of a mixed methods approach, The Semantic Web Journal, accepted in 2019 (to appear)

Internet Governance

Kettemann, Internet Governance, in Jahnel et al. (Hrsg.), Internetrecht, 4. Auflage (Wien: Springer, 2020), 47-73.

Privacy CURE: Consent Comprehension Made Easy

Olha Drozd and Sabrina Kirrane, Privacy CURE: Consent Comprehension Made Easy, 35rd International Conference on Information Security and Privacy Protection (IFIPSEC 2020)

Abstract:

Although the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines several potential legal bases for personal data processing, in many cases data controllers, even when they are located outside the European Union (EU), will need to obtain consent from EU citizens for the processing of their personal data. Unfortunately, existing approaches for obtaining consent, such as pages of text followed by an agreement/disagreement mechanism, are neither specific nor informed. In order to address this challenge, we introduce our Consent reqUest useR intErface (CURE) prototype, which is based on the GDPR requirements and the interpretation of those requirements by the Article 29 Working Party (i.e., the predecessor of the European Data Protection Board). The CURE prototype provides transparency regarding personal data processing, more control via a
customization, and, based on the results of our usability evaluation, improves user comprehension with respect to what data subjects actually consent to. Although the CURE prototype is based on the GDPR requirements, it could potentially be used in other jurisdictions also.

Do Smartphone Apps Influence Mode ChoiceBehavior among Viennese Citizens?

Do Smartphone Apps Influence Mode ChoiceBehavior among Viennese Citizens?

Wagner, Ben  and Winkler, Till  and Human, Soheil and Peer, Stefanie (2020) Do Smartphone Apps Influence Mode ChoiceBehavior among Viennese Citizens?

Menschenrechte und politische Teilhabe im digitalen Zeitalter

Menschenrechte und politische Teilhabe im digitalen Zeitalter

Kettemann, Menschenrechte und politische Teilhabe im digitalen Zeitalter. Stellungnahme als Sachverständiger auf Einladung des Ausschusses für Menschenrechte und humanitäre Hilfe des Deutschen Bundestags. Hamburg: Verlag Hans-Bredow-Institut (Arbeitspapiere des Hans-Bredow-Instituts | Works in Progress # 2), 17. Juni 2020, https://leibniz-hbi.de/de/publikationen/menschenrechte-und-politische-teilhabe-im-digitalen-zeitalter

Zum Zusammenhang von Digitalisierung, Cybersecurity und Demokratisierung

Kettemann, Zum Zusammenhang von Digitalisierung, Cybersecurity und Demokratisierung, in Ursula Werther-Pietsch, Kollektive Sicherheit 2030 – Globale Friedenssicherung im Wandel (Wien: Landesverteidigungsakademie, 2020), 96-99, https://www.bundesheer.at/pdf_pool/publikationen/buch_werther_pietsch_kollektive_sicherheit_2030_web.pdf

Automation and illegal content: can we rely on machines making decisions for us?

Automation and illegal content: can we rely on machines making decisions for us?

Pirkova/Simon, Automation and illegal content: can we rely on machines making decisions for us? (2020).

Made in Europe: Concept and Critique of the Role of Europe as a Global Internet Standard-Setter in Light of the GDPR (and the Network Enforcement Act)

Kettemann/Wittner, Made in Europe: Concept and Critique of the Role of Europe as a Global Internet Standard-Setter in Light of the GDPR  (and the Network Enforcement Act), ZaöRV (2020)

Misguided ‘solution’ to terrorist content will have bad consequences for our rights

Pirkova/Simon, Misguided ‘solution’ to terrorist content will have bad consequences for our rights (Euractiv, 2020).

Facebook’s Norm-Making System: Results of a Pilot Study

Facebook’s Norm-Making System: Results of a Pilot Study (Hamburg: Working Papers of the Hans-Bredow-Institut, Works in Progress # 1, 2020).

Abstract:

This paper presents the outcome of a pilot study into the private order of communication developed by a major social network provider, Facebook Inc., and its policy development process. It is part of a broader research focus on the evolution and application, the legitimacy and contestation of norms in private online communication spaces and their public impact, both in terms of individual rights and societal cohesion. With first-of-a-kind access to the internal processes of policy development (norm production), researchers were able to study the development of content-related policies through phases of participant observation, expert interviews, and normative analyses. The first insights developed in this case study already make an important contribution to the understanding of the challenges posed by creating private rules for what are essentially global digital communication spheres, the interactions between rule-making processes within and outside Facebook, Inc., as a popular social media company that sets rules for 2.7 billion users, and the (self)-conception (and production) of legitimacy in norm-development through proceduralization and external stakeholder involvement. Facebook, we find in this case study, is developing its own normative order; its norms (community standards) are closely intertwined with its platform. It is the Product Policy team that is involved in developing norms. This is no accident. National legal systems need to be more intricately connected to the diversified (and still diversifying) order(s) of private communication.

Who should decide what we see online

Who should decide what we see online?

Pirkova/Simon, Who should decide what we see online? (2020).

Navigating Normative Orders. Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Kettemann (ed.), Navigating Normative Orders. Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Frankfurt/New York: Campus, May 2020).

The Normative Order of the Internet. A Theory of Online Rule and Regulation

Kettemann, The Normative Order of the Internet. A Theory of Online Rule and Regulation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, June 2020).

Freedom of Expression on the Internet

Freedom of Expression on the Internet

Benedek/Kettemann, Freedom of Expression on the Internet (Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2014, 2nd ed. 2020, translations into French, Turkish, Ukrainian).

[How] Can Pluralist Approaches to Computational Cognitive Modeling of Human Needs and Values Save our Democracies?

Human, Soheil and Neumann, Gustaf and Peschl, Markus F. (2019) [How] Can Pluralist Approaches to Computational Cognitive Modeling of Human Needs and Values Save our Democracies? Intellectica (70). pp. 165-180. ISSN 0769-4113.

Die Weltordnung des Digitalen

Kettemann, Die Weltordnung des Digitalen, Vereinte Nationen. Zeitschrift für die Vereinten Nationen und ihre Sonderorganisationen/German Review on the United Nations 5/2019, 195-200.

Consent Comprehension Made Easy Demo

Olha Drozd and Sabrina Kirrane, Consent Comprehension Made Easy Demo, Open Day for Privacy, Usability, and Transparency (PUT 2019) co-located with the 19th Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium

FOLLOW-UP TO THE COMPARATIVE STUDY ON “BLOCKING, FILTERING AND TAKEDOWN OF ILLEGAL INTERNET CONTENT”

Follow-up to the Comparative Study on Blocking Filtering and Take-down of Illegal Internet Content

Kettemann, Follow-up to the Comparative Study on Blocking Filtering and Take-down of Illegal Internet Content (Country Report for Germany 2016-2019) (Strassburg: Europarat, 2019), https://rm.coe.int/dgi-2019-update-chapter-germany-study-on-blocking-and-filtering/168097ac51.

Towards a Global Framework for Cyber Peace and Digital Cooperation

Olha Drozd and Sabrina Kirrane, I Agree: Customize your Personal Data Processing with the CoRe User Interface, Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Trust, Privacy and Security in Digital Business (TrustBus 2019)

TOWARDS A GLOBAL FRAMEWORK FOR CYBER ​​PEACE AND DIGITAL COOPERATION

Towards a Global Framework for Cyber Peace and Digital Cooperation

Kleinwächter/Kettemann/Senges (Hrsg.), Towards a Global Framework for Cyber Peace and Digital Cooperation. An Agenda for the 2020s (Berlin: BMWi, Nov. 2019) (online OA at https://leibniz-hbi.de/de/publikationen/towards-a-global-framework-for-cyber-peace-and-digital-cooperation)

Information & Disinformation

Kettemann, Good news, bad news, fake news, real news. The importance of trust in the age of information, disinformation and misinformation,in Missions Publiques, Briefing materials for International Citizens’ Debates – „We, the Internet“, Paris/Berlin (October 2019), https://intgovwiki.org/w/index.php/Information_and_Disinformation.

No summer break for free expression in Europe: Facebook cases that matter for human rights

No summer break for free expression in Europe: Facebook cases that matter for human rights

Pirkova, No summer break for free expression in Europe: Facebook cases that matter for human rights (2019)

International Rules for Social Media Safeguarding human rights, combating disinformation

International Rules for Social Media
Safeguarding human rights, combating disinformation

Kettemann, International Rules for Social Media. Safeguarding human rights, combating disinformation, Global Governance Spotlight 2/2019 (Development and Peace Foundation (sef:), Bonn, 2019), https://www.sef-bonn.org/en/publications/global-governance-spotlight/22019.html.

Abstract:

With only a few weeks left before the elections to the European Parliament, there is widespread concern about the impact of online disinformation campaigns and hate speech. Various initiatives at the European and global level seek to curb the distribution of false and defamatory information through the establishment of new normative and regulative frameworks. In this paper, Matthias C. Kettemann looks at the strengths and weaknesses of these initiatives from an international law perspective. In his conclusion, he proposes five guidelines for combating disinformation without compromising on human rights.

Many Worlds, Many Nets, Many Visions

Many Worlds, Many Nets, Many Visions

Mosene/Kettemann (eds.), Many Worlds. Many Nets. Many Visions. Critical Voices, Visions and Vectors for Internet Governance (Berlin: HIIG, 2019) (https://www.hiig.de/publication/many-worlds-many-nets-many-visions)

Abstract:

The Internet is a place of contrasts. Consider this: In 1996 John Perry Barlow wrote in his Declaration on the Independence of Cyberspace that “We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth. We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.” A world that all can enter on an equal footing? Can this be true? Has such a world emerged? A world where discrimination has no place, where freedom of expression reigns, where fear has no place? How can these beautiful words be made to fit the lived experience of so many all across the world?

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology

Wagner/Kettemann/Vieth (eds.), Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology. Global Politics, Law and International Relations (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2019).

More information:

In a digitally connected world, the question of how to respect, protect and implement human rights has become unavoidable. This contemporary Research Handbook offers new insights into well-established debates by framing them in terms of human rights. It examines the issues posed by the management of key Internet resources, the governance of its architecture, the role of different stakeholders, the legitimacy of rule making and rule-enforcement, and the exercise of international public authority over users. Highly interdisciplinary, its contributions draw on law, political science, international relations and even computer science and science and technology studies.

Human Rights, Digital Society and the Law

Human Rights, Digital Society and the Law

Kettemann/Benedek, Freedom of expression online, in Mart Susi (Hrsg.), Human Rights, Digital Society and the Law. A Research Companion (London: Routledge, 2019), 58-74.

‌Book Description:

The Internet has created a formidable challenge for human rights law and practice worldwide. International scholarly and policy-oriented communities have so far established a consensus regarding only one main aspect – human rights in the internet are the same as offline. There are emerging and ongoing debates regarding not only the standards and methods to be used for achieving the “sameness” of rights online, but also whether “classical” human rights as we know them are contested by the online environment. The internet itself, in view of its cross-border nature and its ability to affect various areas of law, requires adopting an internationally oriented approach and a perspective strongly focused on social sciences. In particular, the rise of the internet, enhanced also by the influence of new technologies such as algorithms and intelligent artificial systems, has influenced individuals’ civil, political and social rights not only in the digital world, but also in the atomic realm. As the coming of the internet calls into question well-established legal categories, a broader perspective than the domestic one is necessary to investigate this phenomenon.

This book explores the main fundamental issues and practical dimensions related to the safeguarding of human rights in the internet, which are at the focus of current academic debates. It provides a comprehensive analysis with a forward-looking perspective of bringing order into the somewhat chaotic online dimension of human rights. It addresses the matter of private digital censorship, the apparent inefficiency of existing judicial systems to react to human rights violations online, the uncertainty of liability for online human rights violations, whether the concern with personal data protection overshadows multiple other human rights issues online and will be of value to those interested in human rights law and legal regulation of the internet.

Busted! The Truth About the 50 Most Common Internet Myths

Busted! The Truth About the 50 Most Common Internet Myths

Kettemann/Dreyer (Hrsg.), Busted! The Truth About the 50 Most Common Internet Myths (Berlin: BMWi/Hamburg: Verlag Hans-Bredow-Institut, Nov. 2019) (online OA at https://www.internetmyths.eu).

‌Book Description:

This anthology clears up misconceptions about the Internet and summarises what we really know about the online world. The editors Matthias C. Kettemann and Stephan Dreyer have embarked on a search for the 50 most common Internet myths and asked Internet experts from Africa, America, Asia and Europe to disprove these myths in a concise form.

Back up: Can Users Sue Platforms to Reinstate Deleted Content?

Back up: Can Users Sue Platforms to Reinstate Deleted Content?

Kettemann/Tiedeke, Back up: Can Users Sue Platforms to Reinstate Deleted Content?  A Comparative Study of US and German Jurisprudence on “Must Carry”, GigaNet Symposion Research Paper (2019).

‌Abstract:

A private order of public communication has emerged. As social network services fulfill important communicative functions in political communication processes, the question of public interest and public law-based limits to their private power has to be carefully considered. A lot has been written about the failings of companies in deleting problematic content. This paper flips the question and asks under which conditions users can sue to reinstate content and under which circumstances courts have recognized ‘must carry’ obligations for social network services. We will analyze this question looking at a selection of US and German court cases on the question of reinstatement of accounts and republication of deleted posts, videos and tweets. We will draw out the differences in constitutional and statutory law and explain the divergence. Our analysis will also point to a larger issue of systemic relevance, namely the differences in treatment of states and private companies as threats to and/or guarantors of fundamental rights in the jurisdictions under comparison. Finally, we will show why it is important to not think about private ordering of communication as separate (or even separable) from the public interest.

“This is Not a Drill”: International Law and Protection of Cybersecurity

Kettemann, “This is Not a Drill”: International Law and Protection of Cybersecurity, in Wagner/Kettemann/Vieth (eds.), Research Handbook of Human Rights and Digital Technology (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2019), 113-128.

Intelligent Agents: The Vision Revisited

Sabrina Kirrane and Stefan Decker, Intelligent Agents: The Vision Revisited, Workshop on Decentralizing the Semantic Web (DeSemWeb2018) @ The 17th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2018)

Enabling Personal Data Processing Control via Dynamic Consent

Olha Drozd, Rigo Wenning and Sabrina Kirrane, Enabling Personal Data Processing Control via Dynamic Consent, Open Day for Privacy, Transparency and Decentralization (OPERANDI 2018) @ PETS2018

A Scalable Consent, Transparency and Compliance Architecture

Sabrina Kirrane, Javier D. Fernández, Wouter Dullaert, Uros Milosevic, Axel Polleres, Piero Bonatti, Rigo Wenning, Olha Drozd and Philip Raschke, A Scalable Consent, Transparency and Compliance Architecture, Proceedings of the Posters and Demos Track of the Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2018)

Privacy, security and policies: A review of problems and solutions with semantic web technologies

Sabrina Kirrane, Serena Villata, and Mathieu d’Aquin, Privacy, security and policies: A review of problems and solutions with semantic web technologies, The Semantic Web Journal, 2018