Privacy, democracy and self-determination in the age of artificial intelligence and globalisation (PRIDS)

The digital transformation of societies around the world has not only gained further momentum in recent years, but has also created increasingly visible global interdependencies and problems. Today, the practically omnipresent systems of artificial intelligence (AI) are at the centre of scientific, political, economic, normative and regulatory interest. AI and globalisation create new challenges for data protection as an instrument for self-determination and decision-making autonomy and thus ultimately also for democratic processes.

This is where the research project PRIDS (Privatheit, Demokratie und Selbstbestimmung im Zeitalter von Künstlicher Intelligenz und Globalisierung) comes in. It examines both theoretically and empirically how the self-determination of individuals and groups can continue to succeed in the future. After all, private data is increasingly being collected not only by people actively disclosing it, but also by analysing behavioural data.

The Chair for Public Law, IT Law and Environmental Law at the University of Kassel is responsible for the legal aspects of the project. Out of the four focal areas of the research project (development of democracy, AI and privacy; privacy in the course of the lifespan; protection of fundamental rights in global technology infrastructures; data protection as an international competitive factor), the University of Kassel is working on the focal areas “development of democracy, AI and privacy” and “protection of fundamental rights in global technology infrastructures”.

In the area of “Development of democracy, AI and privacy”, the University of Kassel is working in particular on the existing need for legal regulation and is submitting proposals for improvements in the area of AI regulation. The area “Protection of fundamental rights in global technology infrastructures” accounts for the largest legal research area of the project. It addresses the need for democratic constitutional states to respect and protect fundamental rights. It analyses the extent to which intelligent technology infrastructures jeopardise this duty to protect. It then examines what options the European Union and Germany have to emphasise European values in global infrastructure competition and to assert them against providers with market power. This also includes an analysis of the concept of digital sovereignty to protect privacy and democratic self-determination.

The project is coordinated by Fraunhofer ISI (Dr Friedewald). Other project partners are the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, WIM (Prof. Hess; Dr Neuburger); the Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz Schleswig-Holstein (Marit Hansen); the University of Duisburg Essen, Social Psychology (Prof. Krämer); the University of Kassel, Sociology (Prof. Lamla) and the University of Tübingen, IZEW (Prof. Ammicht Quinn, PD Dr Heesen).

Further information on PRIDS, as part of the Forum Privatheit, can be found on the project homepage and on the BMBF website.

Project information

Federal Ministry of Education and Research

April 2021 - May 2024

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

Dr. Stephan Schindler
Carolin Gilga