For what reasons—and in what ways—do we divulge our data? Bidt funds pioneering interdisciplinary project
To what extent does our cultural background and the legal environment affect how willing we are to disclose our personal data? Does it make a difference if the data is transferred to another country—a common feature of many transactions? An interdisciplinary group of researchers from three of the University’s faculties are currently investigating these and other questions in a project entitled ‘Vektoren der Datenpreisgabe’ (vectors of data disclosure). This project, which is to include an international comparative study, will combine approaches from the academic disciplines of law, cultural studies and information systems to tackle the topic.
The Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences will contribute about 940,000 euros to this research.
‘Data is one of the main drivers of innovation in the 21st century. But at the same time, the constantly evolving possibilities for data processing keep bringing about novel threat scenarios. This has prompted us to investigate—in a concerted approach—the underlying decision-making processes, cultural influences and legal protection mechanisms’, summarised Professor Moritz Hennemann, the principal investigator for the project. ‘Using the knowledge gained from these different perspectives, we will develop innovation-friendly solutions to mitigate the posed threats. This should enable us to formulate regulatory recommendations for standard-setting bodies and action recommendations for business enterprises.’
The researchers involved in the project include Professors Hennemann (Chair of European and International Information and Data Law), Kai von Lewinski (Chair of Public Law, Media Law and Information Law), Daniela Wawra (Chair of English Language and Culture) and Thomas Widjaja (Chair of Business Information Systems). Their common goals are to identify the cultural and regulatory influences that determine what makes people disclose personal information, then to develop a model that explains the influencing factors in this decision-making process, and finally, to derive recommendations for regulatory bodies. The project also has a strongly international component, as the research team will study and compare the basic principles of data disclosure across various countries.
‘One important sub-goal of our project is to identify and better understand the cultural influencing factors’, said Professor Daniela Wawra. Professor Widjaja added: ‘This understanding will help us to jointly examine how cultural and legal frameworks shape individual data disclosure decisions’. The findings will be used to generate recommendations on how to design legal frameworks and adapt data-driven business models to make them work in different legal systems. Professor Kai von Lewinski emphasised that ‘it is important not only to analyse the differences between legal systems and cultures around the world but also to recognise that these differences can lead to conflicts when data is shared across national borders.’
The project starts on 1 January 2021 and ends on 31 March 2024.
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