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Digital summit of the traffic light coalition wants more data collection

Germany’s top politicians and business representatives have come together at a digital summit to discuss a future data culture. There seems to be agreement that more data will have to be collected in the future. The results are likely to frighten data protectionists in particular.

Wissing calls for “courage and openness” when it comes to data

Regulations such as the GDPR ensure that we enjoy comprehensive data protection in the EU, which is anything but a matter of course. And this is also a fundamental right, which arises from the informational self-determination of Article 2 (1) GG in conjunction with Article 1 (1) GG. Government politicians from the traffic light coalition have now met in Berlin to agree on a future data culture. The speeches partly seem as if they are not at all in line with the fundamental right to data protection. The patron of the Digital Summit is Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport, Volker Wissing (FDP). During the meeting, the minister expressed his wish for “a data culture in which everyone participates.” To make this wish come true, he further states that significantly more data needs to be made available and used.

It is probably not only the transport department that plays an important role in this. He also wants to digitize everyday life to a greater extent. Wissing calls for “courage and openness” in this regard. The goal is probably to give Germany a good push in the area of digitization. While there is probably agreement across the population that Germany still has some homework to do in the area of digitization, the view on the importance of data processing is likely to go down anything but well, especially in the circle of data protectionists. After all, the common denominator that emerged from the IT summit was the need to give business models based on extensive data processing a chance.

Habeck raves about data processing

That the traffic light coalition is apparently flirting with a relaxation of data protection already became clear a few days ago. When the EU Council of Ministers threw up the proposal to expand powers for biometric video surveillance in the future, the German government agreed without further ado. So the statements made by Robert Habeck (Greens), the German Minister for the Economy and Climate Protection, come as no surprise. At the IT summit, he raved about iris and face scans as payment methods. According to Habeck, he was able to see for himself how useful they are during a visit to a refugee camp in Jordan. There, the personalized payment method was preferred to prevent the emergence of a black market in the camp. Habeck really raved about establishing these options in our country as well.

In particular, visiting a supermarket could be smoother in the future. When you enter the store, you are registered, then you scan the goods and finally you check out again via iris scan. At the end, the corresponding amount is withdrawn from the account without further ado. From his point of view, this could also benefit the environment. This is probably based on the purification of the retail trade. In the same breath, however, he stressed the sensitivity of the data. It must not fall into the wrong hands. Large tech companies such as Meta must also be shown their limits, he said, as their knowledge already exceeds that of many states.

Data should become common property

During the summit, Habeck continued to emphasize that there must be a “right to data sovereignty.” But does that now mean that people should be allowed to decide for themselves which data they want to disclose and which not? There was no real answer to this question. For example, the topic of privacy was not addressed at the data summit. Instead, Wissing emphasized that “security by design and by default” is intended to establish strict guidelines for companies. Users should be able to make many security settings. In this way, the fundamental right to data protection would like to be given its due place, even with advancing digitization and expanded data processing. How this is to be done in detail, one would like to present next Wednesday in the context of the conference of the foundation data protection.

A look into the crystal ball?

The public actually expected a mature strategy paper from the German government at the digital summit. However, it was more of an outlook on things that could one day be. This means that currently, the data strategy of the previous, grand coalition is still current. Wissing himself emphasized that the paper is currently still being prepared in cooperation with other departments. Only when it is presented will we be able to look forward to solid information. What is certain is that Wissing also wants to give artificial intelligence a lot of space. This is not only interesting for the economy, but also for the executive branch. Particularly in data processing by the executive branch, such as law enforcement agencies, one could achieve goal-oriented results here.

But since Wissing is naturally also focusing on traffic, a quality and innovation center is to work on developments for autonomous driving. Among other things, mobility data is to serve as a basis for this, analyzing the flow of road traffic, for example. Mercedes Benz recently demonstrated that cooperation between car manufacturers and public agencies can be fruitful. Together with the Federal Motor Transport Authority, the long-established Stuttgart-based company has developed the possibility of autonomous parking. Since a lot will happen in the next few years, especially in the field of AI, black sheep will also be unavoidable. Accordingly, Wissing is planning a test label for products that rely on AI on top of that.

Criticism comes from the Chaos Computer Club

Actually, the purpose of a summit is to have a lively exchange about a predefined topic. In order to really initiate goal-oriented discussions here, it also requires a counter opinion. This seems to have been prevented on the part of the organizers. Although well-known representatives such as the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) were invited, a world-renowned club was missing. When one thinks of data protection in Germany, the members of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) come to mind first and foremost. The CCC was once again disappointed not to have received an invitation. Other associations, such as the Society for Civil Liberties (GFF), also complained about this. Together with its alliance partners from the digital policy alliance F5, it complained that primarily business representatives were invited to the summit. The traffic light coalition must therefore accept the accusation of lobbying.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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Germany’s top politicians and business representatives have come together at a digital summit to discuss a future data culture. There seems to be agreement that more data will have to be collected in the future. The results are likely to frighten data protectionists in particular. Wissing calls for „courage and openness“ when it comes to … (Weiterlesen...)

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