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A Culture of Privacy and Trust for the Internet

How to obtain and guarantee privacy and data protection in our digital world is one of today's most pressing and debated issues. Diverging national legislation and differing cultural concepts of privacy, in combination with increasing user concerns about the protection of personal data in cyberspace prevent all of us from fully utilizing the enormous potential of the internet. The recent European Union proposal for a general data protection regulation is but one example of the urgent necessity to assess and overcome this challenge.


acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering project "Internet Privacy", is in the process of developing research-based recommendations for policy makers, industry, and academia on how to establish cultures of privacy and trust on the internet. In order to approach this challenge from the required multidisciplinary perspective, the project brings together seven academic research groups from the areas of technology, sociology, economics, ethics, and law, as well as corporate experts.


During the first project phase the project participants produced a comprehensive survey of the status quo of Internet Privacy, including societal perceptions of privacy on the Internet and relevant technological, legal, economic, and ethical framework conditions. The survey was presented and discussed during the acatech symposium on March 26, 2012 in Berlin.



Welcome Note Speakers

„The Internet has long since developed from a purely technical medium into a ubiquitous tool. Individuals, companies and public authorities use the World Wide Web to exchange information. Geographical and social boundaries are becoming blurred. New business models have emerged which would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. Participating in social networks and making purchases online have become as commonplace as going to the cinema or buying a book in a “real” bookshop. In this...

Georg Schütte, State Secretary Federal Ministry of Education and Research



In this virtual world, the concept of privacy is becoming ambiguous. Although people divulge private information on social media, they often lack the necessary trust in online business partners. Time and again, people experience situations in which their data is not secure and their right to determine how it is used is not respected.“

„The issues of privacy and trust with regard to the internet have been fiercely debated within social, economic, and political spheres since the groundbreaking effects of the digital revolution became apparent. Sometimes referred to as the “infrastructure of infrastructures”, the internet is the main driver of innovation in our age. It is a key technology with incredible impact and therefore a major focus for acatech, the National Academy of Science and Engineering.

Henning Kagermann, President acatech

„The Internet is ubiquitous and of great use for the individual, society,and the economy. At the same time, many Internet users fear that on the Internet their privacy is threatened and that this can have unforeseen consequences. In the future, this privacy paradox may have a negative impact on the optimal development of the Internet. This is why the National Academy of Science and Engineering, supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and various companies, has launched a project which aims to resolve this paradox by developing recommendations for a culture of privacy on and trust in the Internet.

Johannes A. Buchmann, Head of Project

Keynote Speakers

Ian Brown, Oxford Internet Institute, UK

Helen Nissenbaum, New York University

Other Speakers and Rapporteurs

Other Speakers and Rapporteurs



Rafael Capurro, Karlsruhe, acatech projekt

Martina Löw, TU Darmstadt

Günter Müller, University of Freiburg

Philipp Richter, University of Kassel

Michael Waidner, Fraunhofer SIT/TU Darmstadt




Daniel Nagel, BRP Renaud&Partner, Stuttgart

Carsten Ochs, TU Darmstadt

Philipp Richter, University of Kassel

Fatemeh Shirazi, TU Darmstadt

Jens Strüker, University of Freiburg


Moderator: Terry Martin, SPIA – Science-Policy Interface Agency



Parallel Sessions: 13.45 - 14.45






Information Ethics

Information and Privacy Law


Short summary of panels (download)



Quelle: acatech/David Ausserhofer