DFG Research Training Group 2050: Privacy and Trust for Mobile Users

The Research Training Group 2050: Privacy and Trust for Mobile Users (DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 2050: Privatheit und Vertrauen für mobile Nutzende), funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG), was launched in October 2015 and its term was extended in December 2019 until September 2024. Representatives from the TU Darmstadt, Goethe University Frankfurt and the University of Kassel from the disciplines of computer science, usability, economics, sociology and law work closely together.

For centuries, privacy and trust have been relevant issues for society. Mobile information and communication technology has become almost ubiquitous due to the spread of smartphones and tablet computers. Large parts of society use this to their advantage. With regard to the relationship between user and network, public debates emphasise the increasing transparency of users in the sense of a surveillance society, while the network is seen as increasingly opaque.

Prof. Dr. Gerrit Hornung, LL.M. was appointed Principle Investigator in the Research Training Group in summer 2018. He supervises doctoral students of the 2nd cohort. The legal work is primarily located in Research Area C "Privacy and Trust in Sensor-Based Environments". While the legal work of the first cohort concentrated on the question of legal precautionary regulations for processing processes with data in which no relevant personal reference can (yet) be recognised at the time of collection, the questions of the second cohort deal primarily with sensor-supported environments in digitalised production (Industry 4.0).

Firstly, technology-adequate regulatory strategies for data in the range between anonymity and personal reference are to be developed. Secondly, organisational models for the inclusion of intermediaries are to be elaborated. In addition to legal-organisational intermediaries (e.g. workers' councils or data protection officers), technical intermediaries (e.g. privacy dashboards) can also contribute to the support of privacy and trust. Third, implementation options for novel GDPR requirements in human-distant IoT environments will be developed. The challenges of non-transparent IoT structures and data flows are to be met by an interdisciplinary development of technical concepts and exemplary solutions for transparency and the ability to explain and justify IoT technologies.

Further information on the Research Training Group 2050: Privacy and Trust for Mobile Users can be found on the DFG website.

Project information

German Research Foundation


1st funding phase:
October 2015 - March 2020

2nd funding phase:
April 2020 - September 2024

Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Gerrit Hornung, LL.M.

Linda Seyda