Current Projects

Better protection of employee data for economic success (EduMiDa)

Due to high cost pressures, companies increasingly resort to so-called agile ressource planning, e.g. the real-time collection of location data of employees to avoid idle times and the associated costs. Such data can be very sensitive though, and should thus be collected in a privacy-friendly way in order to protect employees.

It is the objective of the project "Success through Employee Data Protection" (EduMiDa) to research and to develop automatedly verifiable metrics, with the help of which employees can control how their data is protected. The metrics also support works councils and company data protection officers in their cooperation and control duties. The EduMiDa project team also investigates the economic contexts of measures of employee data protection to assess the adequacy of data protection measures from a legal as well as an economic point of view. A selection of the developed metrics are to be implemented in a demonstrator and to be tested in a real-life application scenario.

The IGMR supports the research project with its legal expertise in the field of employee data protection law. Project partner of the University of Bremen (IGMR) are the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT), Darmstadt (Coordinator), the University of Münster and the application partner p.l.i. solutions GmbH, Gütersloh. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Duration: 1.6.2021 - 30.11.2023

Cooperation with the Leibniz Science Campus Digital Public Health

Digital networking is continuously revolutionising medicine and is also spreading rapidly in the health sector. Health applications provide quick and inexpensive access to health-promoting measures for a large number of people. State-of-the-art digital technologies require an interdisciplinary approach from an ethical, legal and social perspective. However, this often lags behind technical progress: the yardstick is not what is legally, ethically or socially acceptable, but only what is technically feasible. Frequently, the individual research disciplines work in isolation from each other.

The new Leibniz Science Campus Digital Public Health faces these challenges by bringing together scientists from the health sciences, computer science, statistics, law, communication sciences, ethnology and philosophy. Central scientific questions around the research focus of Digital Public Health are examined interdisciplinarily by teams of experts in four different research clusters. Twice a year, a showcase event  provides an insight into current and completed research projects for all those interested. In addition, the Early Career Researcher Academy (ECRA) specifically supports young researchers to organise their own retreats, workshops and research stays.

The Leibniz Science Campus Digital Public Health Bremen is one of the 22 Science Campuses funded by the Leibniz Association and is based on the cooperation of the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology BIPS, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Medicine MEVIS and the University of Bremen. The IGMR supports the research network with its legal expertise in the field of health and data protection law, i.e.  Prof. Benedikt Buchner and junior researcher Merle Freye within the framework of a doctoral scholarship.

Duration: 2020-2022

For further information see:

SKINET - Proactive Safety through Artifical Intelligence in Automobile and Industrial IT Networks

Since October 2020 the IGMR participates in the joint project SKINET with the subproject "Legal conformity of AI-supported safety measures in automobile and industrial IT networks", providing legal support for the entire project. SKINET is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

With the increasing complexity of IT systems and their growing connectivity, new opportunities for attack arise all the time. It is becoming increasingly difficult to guaranty complete security of information and operation of these IT systems. Constant monitoring of IT components, early recognition and handling of safety-relevant incidents and comprehensive continuous assessment of the safety level of the entire system are important elements of a solution to these problems. These measures cannot be fully implemented in today's systems, though - frequently due to reasons of complexity and expenditure.

The central idea of the SKINET project is the application of methods and functions of artificial intelligence (AI) to efficiently recognise and deal with safety-relevant incidents and their causes. The mere information of responsible persons in cases of attack is to accompanied by automatic recommendation or autonomous introduction of suitable measures in order to ensure best possible security and availability. SKINET will develop a distributed system for the recognition and management of safety-relevant incidents for this purpose. Based on AI-suppoprted sensors, which are used in vehicles or industry networks as an extension to existing technologies (e.g. firewalls, data logger systems or anti-virus software), an AI engine will be developed for additional recognition or prognosis of attacks or misfunctions.

In order to guaranty legal certainty, data protection-sensitive interfaces and questions of liabililty of the AI solution will be taken into account over the entire duration of the project. Many questions of legal AI and IT safety research have not been completed resolved or are still controversial. The focus here is on IT safety and data protection law, product approval as well as product and producer liability law. Based on existing solution proposals and combined with the interdisciplinary project coordination of SKINET, legal concepts already under discussion are to be reviewed, validated and where necessary developed further and tested in the concrete application scenarios investigated by the project.

Duration: 1 October 2020 - September 2023

Gruppenbild Sansibar

Strengthening protection of personal data in the health sector: a comparative analysis of the Tanzanian and German eHealth System

The joint project of the Open University of Tanzania and the University of Bremen is concerned with the regulation of personal data in the eHealth sector. Research is focussed on the electronic health card and the associated challenges arising for data protection regulation in Germany and Tansania. At the same time, the project is to provide the basis for the establishment of a LL.M. Health Law Programme at the University of Tanzania including Tanzanian and German courses. The overall objective is a framework for a long-term cooperation in research and education in the field of data protection and healthcare, leading e.g. to the joint supervision of PhD projects. 

With eHealth applications such as the electronic health card, digital technologies have increasingly become part of the healthcare system worldwide. EHealth can support an effectively functioning and cost-effective healthcare system, in particular in rural areas with lower levels of medical provision. According to the WHO, there are 20000 patients for every doctor in Tanzania, compared to 218 patients in Germany. At the same time, eHealth promotes the collection of data which are processed and made available at various points. The particular challenge consists in protecting sensitive personal health data by corresponding legal regulation without unnecessarily impairing the functioning of the healthcare system. This challenge of data protection regulation is present in Germany as well as Tanzania, with Germany having introduced the electronic health card at an earlier date. The complex issues in the field of eHealth require intensive international collaboration and each side can profit from the different experiences and perspectives of the other here.

In comparative as well as empirical studies, the data protection situtation in both countries is to be investigated, also in view of the internationalisation of data protection law and the increasing need for a harmonisation of data protection legislation with the European General Data Protection Regulation in third countries. In addition to legal publications, the establishment of an LL.M. Programme for Health Law at the Open University of Tanzania is to be prepared, the curriculum and a guidance for lecturers are to be developed. Four workshops will be organised in Bremen and Dar es Salaam. The first workshop took place at the Open University of Tanzania at Dar es Salaam and Sansibar from 5 to 12 August 2019, with the participation of legal and medical experts. Due to the Covid pandemic, the workshop planned for 2020 had to be postponed and took place in 2022 at the University of Bremen.

The project is a cooperation of the IGMR and the Open University of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, directed by Prof. Dr. Benedikt Buchner and Prof. Dr. Alex Makulilo. Also working on the project are young researchers Dr. Rindstone Ezekiel und Dr. Doreen Mwmalangala as well as Merle Freye and Dr. Dennis-Kenji Kipker. Prof. Makulilo has been appointed as one of currently ten Research Ambassadors of the University of Bremen in 2019. Research Ambassadors are to represent the university abroad, act as contact persons for those interested in studying, teaching or researching at Bremen and help to establish a network of alumni and researchers of the University of Bremen. The University provides financial and academic support for the Research Ambassadors. Alex Boniface Makulilo completed his PhD supervised by Benedikt Buchner in 2012 with a DAAD scholarship and carried out research at the IGMR, in particular on data protection law in Africa, from 2014 to 2016 and in 2017 with a scholarship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The project is sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation within the framework of the Programme for the Promotion of Institute Parternships. Since June 2022 , the project has been continued at the University of Augsburg.

Duration of the project: 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2024