Research

Forschung 2

Key focus areas

The ITSL's research focuses on the interaction of new technologies and various disciplines including communication sciences, sociology, psychology, geography, ethics, and law. The ITSL’s key focus currently lies with the following research projects:

Data Ownership

The increasing number of data-driven business models as well as the growing importance and value of data have spurred the question whether data belong to someone, and if so, to whom. While the topic has already entered the political sphere, a number of key questions remain unanswered or were, to date, only touched upon briefly. A one-year research project funded by the Hasler Foundation addresses these fundamental questions regarding such a potential exclusivity right on data: How can such a right be justified? What would be its scope and limitations? And how could it be implemented?

These questions were discussed in public on 29 March 2017 at an event hosted by ITSL. From 6 to 8 July 2017, ITSL held an international expert workshop with scientists in the field of law and computer science. The workshop was sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and its main insights are compiled in a Workshop Summary (PDF, 223 KB).

Between Solidarity and Personalisation - Big Data in the Insurance Industry

The insurance industry has a genuine interest in Big Data applications. By applying profiling or predictive analytics techniques and by using quantified self applications, specific risks of an insured person can be assessed more precisely. At the same time, the moral foundation of any insurance system is solidarity; individual risks should be distributed among all insured persons. These conflicting goals are to some extent paradigmatic for the challenges brought about by digitalization. The ITSL participates in an interdisciplinary project funded by the National Research Program (NRP 75 – Big Data) which analyses this conflict and brings together researchers from ethics, economics and law.

Foundations of the Right to Privacy

Nowadays, information and communication technologies allow mass collection and analysis of personal data. Against this background, the right to privacy is of major scholarly interest. But despite the fact that this right’s origins date back to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, its exact scope remains relatively blurry. In this research project, we examine the foundations of the right to privacy and analyse how modern data protection law draws on this right.