Dig­i­tal Codex: “Every­one Does What They Want Online – Respon­si­bil­i­ty in the Dig­i­tal World”

© Christian Back

The iRights.Lab organ­ised a ten-month project on behalf of the Ger­man Insti­tute for Inter­net Con­fi­den­tial­i­ty and Secu­ri­ty (DIVSI) in order to deter­mine whether or not Ger­many needs a dig­i­tal codex. The study aimed to clear up whether in an increas­ing­ly dig­i­tal­ized soci­ety, social norms require new rules which need not nec­es­sar­i­ly derive from leg­is­la­tion. One part of the process was the pub­lic launch event on 4 July 2013 in Munich.

Our behav­iour at work and in leisure time was fun­da­men­tal­ly changed by the inter­net. We are spend­ing more and more time online and we have direct access to new struc­tures, pos­si­bil­i­ties and ways of think­ing. But what is not yet clear is how long-devel­oped social and eth­i­cal behav­iours will fare in the tran­si­tion from the offline world into the online one. Or, to put it anoth­er way: Does Ger­many need a dig­i­tal codex?

DIVSI engaged the inde­pen­dent think tank iRights.Lab to answer this ques­tion, by means of con­sul­ta­tions with experts in the fields of data pro­tec­tion, inter­net gov­er­nance, polit­i­cal edu­ca­tion, work, con­sti­tu­tion­al law and the econ­o­my, as well as under­tak­ing sur­veys of inter­net users and pub­lic events.

The pub­lic dis­cus­sion was launched at the event “Every­one Does What They Want Online – Respon­si­bil­i­ty in the Dig­i­tal World” on Thurs­day 4 July 2013 in Munich’s Oberangerthe­ater. Matthias Kam­mer, Direc­tor of the Ger­man Insti­tute for Inter­net Con­fi­den­tial­i­ty and Secu­ri­ty (Deutsches Insti­tut für Ver­trauen und Sicher­heit im Inter­net, DIVSI), and Philipp Otto, Founder and Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the iRights.Lab, spoke along­side Dr. Jeanette Hof­mann, Founder and Direc­tor of the Alexan­der von Hum­boldt Insti­tute for Inter­net and Soci­ety (HIIG), and Timo Greger, a speak­er at the Bavar­i­an State Coun­cil of Schools on “Respon­si­bil­i­ty as the Basis of Inter­net Pol­i­cy?” and “My Dig­i­tal Life”.

The fol­low­ing panel dis­cus­sion, “Who is Respon­si­ble in the Dig­i­tal World?”; saw a debate between:

  • Tat­jana Halm, HEad of divi­son mar­ket and law at the Ver­braucherzen­trale Bay­ern
  • Under-Sec­re­tary Franz-Josef Pschier­er, Deputy for IT in the Bavar­i­an State Gov­ern­ment
  • Ste­fan Plöchinger, Chief Online Edi­tor, Süd­deutsche Zeitung
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Johannes Buch­mann, Direc­tor of the Cen­tre for Advanced Secu­ri­ty Research Darm­stadt (CASED) and Chair of Cryp­tog­ra­phy at Darm­stadt Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty