ZEVEDI Project Group: Big Data and AI in German Security Authorities (KISib)

In view of new threats to the state and society, German security authorities have been centralised, expanded, and given new tasks for some time. Their activities have gradually shifted from a reactive, case-by-case approach to a structured, operational approach aimed at identifying and counteracting risks at an early stage. As the need to anticipate threats in a timely manner increases, security authorities are becoming increasingly reliant on the collection and processing of data and information, supported by technology. This development takes place in the context of the digitisation of private and public spaces and is associated with the extensive datafication of communication and social action. As a result, the actions of security authorities are increasingly characterised by the use of big data analysis and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This development presents both opportunities and risks.

The project group takes the decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court of 16 February 2023 – 1 BVR 1547/19 – (Automated data analysis), according to which the regulation for the use of the “Gotham” software from Palantir Inc. by the Hessian police was unconstitutional, as an opportunity to analyse this development from a legal perspective. Philosophical/ethical aspects will also be addressed, as well as the technical foundations and practical implementation of new technologies, in dialogue with computer science and the security authorities. Furthermore, European developments will be considered. This concerns Europol’s mandate for large-scale analysis, which was included in the Europol Regulation in 2022, as well as the AI Act Proposal, in which the planned exemptions for security authorities are one of the most controversial issues. In addition, the findings of civil security research are to be considered insofar as they relate to the use of digital technologies in the field of public security.

The project group is part of the Hessian research network Centre Responsible Digitality (ZEVEDI) and is led by Prof. Dr. Michael Bäuerle, LL.M. (Hessian University of Applied Sciences for Public Management and Security) as spokesperson. His deputy is Prof. Dr. Petra Gehring (Technical University of Darmstadt). Other contributors are Dr. Kai Denker (Technical University of Darmstadt), Priv.-Doz. Dr. Christian Geminn (University of Kassel), Dr. Nora Jansen (Goethe University Frankfurt) and Prof. Dr. Bettina Schöndorf-Haubold (Justus Liebig University Giessen).

For more information, please visit the website of the ZEVEDI Project Group: Big Data and AI in the German Security Authorities (KISib).

Project information

Centre Responsible Digitality (ZEVEDI)

January 2024 - December 2024

Project leader:
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Christian Geminn

Dr. Lea Rabe