The Research Group (Previously named: Data as a Means of Payment) examined data usage in the digital economy from legal, psychological and economic perspectives. Our research focused on the functioning of digital markets as well as the chances and risks of data trade. It included questions of private autonomy in the areas of tension between data markets, data protection, contract law, data rights, and cognitive and emotional-motivational dynamic processes that drive individuals to permit use of their personal data.
This research group conducted research at the Weizenbaum Institute from 2017 to 2022. In the newly launched research program, research will henceforth be organised in 16 research groups. These will be flanked and supported by the new Weizenbaum Digital Science Center.
We analysed data usage in the digital economy from legal, psychological and economic perspectives. Our main focus was on fundamental questions of private autonomy in connection with data protection law and contract law, the ways digital markets function and their implications in the area of competition law. We were interested in the legal classification of actions involving collection of and trade in data. In this context, we explored specific questions such as strategies of digital pricing, general and sector-specific rights to access data, as well as visualizations of privacy-related provisions and practises.
We were interested in multifaceted and cross-sectional topics such as existing and potential rights of access to data, which we investigated in a differentiated manner according to the interacting parties, the kind of data in question, and the scope of application of access rights.
Further, we looked into the impact of digitalization on companies’ pricing policies. We critically scrutinized from an economic analysis of law perspective different types of digital pricing that already exist or are currently being developed. The objective was to evaluate options for regulation, especially in regard to consumer protection.
Our psychological research focused in particular on the cognitive and emotional-motivational dynamic processes underlying the often-comprehensive disclosure of personal data by users of digital services and the resulting individual and societal consequences of this behaviour. Concretely, we investigated to what extent the risks associated with the disclosure of personal data can be taken into account in the visualization of data processing aspects in order to increase the motivation, attention and awareness of users and counteract cognitive biases.
Prof. Dr. Axel Metzger, LL.M. (Harvard), Associated Principal Investigator, Founding Director
To the current research program