Society depends on technology for well-being and prosperity. A number of private parties supplying this technology have become global superpowers. They do not automatically serve public interests. Public and political support is growing for regulation to protect competition in the market and safeguard human rights and public values. Ways to solve this regulatory issue are fiercely debated. What is the desired division of responsibilities between public and private actors? What conditions will ensure that industry operates more in the public interest? These questions also have a major geopolitical dimension. In particular, the US, China and the EU are increasingly competing openly for power over science and technology. After decades of moving towards open markets and more cooperation, Europe now strives for more strategic autonomy and digital sovereignty.
To allow governments to exert control over technology, it is necessary for industry to be accountable and transparent with regard to automated data processing and decision-making, as used in social media and by public authorities and executive agencies. What is the social responsibility of big tech companies? What type of data use do we consider to be permissible and what constitutes undesirable manipulation or surveillance?
Important issues in the near future will be the EU proposals for a Digital Service Act Package and how these proposals relate to directives concerning corporate social responsibility. Can EU measures really address the problems? To contribute to these debates, we are conducting research into the revenue models of online platforms and social media and into harmful developments in society, including disinformation, cyberbullying, polarisation, poor working conditions and unfair competition. these proposals relate to directives concerning corporate social responsibility.