Five-year participation in the Network of Centers

Today the ITM celebrated its five-year membership in the NoC (Network of Centers) with a small group in Münster. On behalf of the ITM we would like to thank all participants for their video presentations. We hope that in the future an exchange with the NoC members in person can take place again.

The NoC is an international association of academic institutions and is coordinated by the Berkman Klein Center (Harvard University). The participating institutions have outstanding expertise in their academic fields. Regular joint research and academic exchange through fellowships and events creates synergy effects between the respective centers of expertise. The ITM is an active member and contributes its extensive expertise, especially in German and European law.

German legal education/Webinar with Vienna

At the invitation of Professor Nikolaus Forgó of the University of Vienna, Professor Dr. Thomas Hoeren held a lecture event on German legal education. The seminar was part of an extensive seminar and lecture series at the University of Vienna under the motto “Ars boni”. The basic structure of the German legal education with first state exams and second practice-oriented state exams was presented. The main topics of discussion were the amount of study and the compulsion to have everything at hand in one examination date. The main focus of the training, such as the ITM in Münster, was rated very positively. Hoeren warned against the German habilitations and against too much euphoria for the German career path to professor. The seminar was attended by more than 300 participants from all over Europe. Here the video

German State Media Authorities consult GOAL

The Working Group of the State Media Authorities (ALM) is currently working on concretizing the new State Media Treaty by means of statutes. Within the framework of the modernization of the State Media Treaty, social networks and search engines are required to be more transparent and non-discriminatory. To ensure that the conference of the directors of the State Media Authorities is able to concretise the State Media Treaty in a practical manner and to identify possible implementation difficulties, it has consulted Prof. Hoeren (GOAL project spokesperson, ITM, WWU Münster) and asked for his opinion on the matter. The statement of the GOAL-ITM-team focused in particular with the legal characteristics regarding „information“ intermediaries (e.g. social media) and their use of AI applications.

Essay “Data protection issues in the selection of video conferencing tools”

In a recently published article (John/Wellmann, DuD 2020, 506-510), the research assistants Nicolas John and Maximilian Wellmann have taken the rapidly changing communication behaviour during the corona crisis as an opportunity to investigate data protection issues in the field of video conferencing software. The decisive factor for this was not least the numerous inquiries that reached and still reach ITM on this topic during the hot phase of the corona crisis. The article gets to the bottom of a multitude of data protection problems that place special demands on the person responsible.

In addition to the question of whether on-premises solutions are preferable to cloud-based Software as Service solutions, the article also addresses the question of the transfer of personal data to countries outside the scope of the DSGVO. In the course of the investigation, the difficulty of reconciling the multitude of technically available solutions with the limits of data protection regulation became particularly apparent. That this is not impossible, however, is one of the core messages of the essay.

The article is the first part of a two-part publication, the second part of which will examine data protection in the setting up and use of videoconferencing tools. This article will be published in the September issue of DuD.

Link to the article:


Consultation of the Goal Group around AI researcher Prof. Dr. Hoeren by TILT/The Netherlands

The Goal Group around Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren (on GOAL) took part in an expert consultation of a Dutch research project. The consultation was conducted by the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT), which is conducting research on the regulation of AI in a joint project involving several universities on behalf of the Dutch government. Prof. Dr. Hoeren and the Goal research group at ITM assessed in particular the legal status de lege lata and evaluated possible changes to the existing standards in AI guidelines.

Lecture “E-Tests – A consideration of data protection law”

In the context of a meeting of the “Chancellor’s Working Group on Digital Transformation” at the Technical University of Braunschweig, research assistants Malin Fischer (RiDH) and Owen Mc Grath (DFN) gave a presentation on Wednesday, July 15 on the data protection assessment of digital examinations. The lecture included to a large extent results of the cooperation of the Legal Information Center Digital University NRW and the Research Center for Law at DFN. The compatibility of digital surveillance measures (so-called proctoring) with European data protection law was a central topic. Special attention was paid to the appropriate legal basis of the DSGVO and the compliance with the principles of lawful processing of personal data in the implementation of common surveillance measures. Subsequently, details were briefly discussed.

Finally, the legal aspects of e-examinations were supplemented by a practice report from the University of Osnabrück by Dr. Andreas Knaden.

We would like to thank the Chancellor Working Group Digital Transformation for the invitation!

Lecture on developments in Chinese copyright law

On 14.07.2020, Zhang Kaiye* gave a lecture on the development of Chinese copyright law at the ITM. He introduced the audience* to the origins of the Copyright Act and gave them an overview of the main aspects of the three changes in the law that have taken place since then. In doing so, he always placed them in an international context, from the Berne Convention to the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances.

The main focus of the presentation was the discussion of the Punitive Damages introduced by the last amendment. According to Art. 53 of the Chinese Copyright Act, punitive damages can be imposed in the case of intentional and particularly serious copyright infringements. The amount of damages depends on the value of the damage and is payable to the right holder. Thus, the Copyright Act ties in with other areas, such as the Chinese Consumer Protection Law, Trademark Law and Unfair Competition Law, where punitive damages are already possible.

After the presentation, there was an opportunity for questions and discussion. The ITM would like to thank Zhang Kaiye for his interesting lecture and his excellent work as a guest researcher in the civil law department of the ITM.

* Zhang Kaiye is a doctoral student at the School of Law of Tsinghua University in China and a guest researcher in the civil law department of ITM.

Podcast: Discrimination by algorithmic systems

This new podcast in the ITM series J!Cast deals with discrimination by algorithmic systems. Johannes Kevekordes (research assistant) of the BMBF-funded project GOAL (Governance of/ by Algorithms) is interviewed by Matthias Haag. The podcast gives an overview of the problems of discrimination by algorithms.

Further information on GOAL can be found on the GOAL website and on Twitter under @Goal_Project.

Library opened again

Die Bibliothek des ITM ist ab dem 20.07.2020 wieder geöffnet. Es gelten die gewöhnlichen Öffnungszeiten.

The library of the ITM will be open again from 20.07.2020. The usual opening hours apply.

Report from the GOAL-Summer School, 23-24 June 2020




On 23 and 24 June the Summer School organised by the GOAL project took place. Due to the special circumstances caused by the Corona crisis, it was held digitally. Both project-internal and external speakers discussed interesting issues related to the governance of algorithms. There were lectures and workshops from the fields of (socio-)computer science, law, ethics, economics and technology assessment.