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What are you? Are you good or bad? The bpb subconference @ #rp13

2013-04-08 14:00

"Beware of the technicians! They start with the sewing machine and end with the atomic bomb", the French writer Marcel Pagnol once said.  He toyed with the human fear of technology's unknown factors and their impacts. This area of the "unknown" is also subject to the work of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung - bpb).

One of bpb's tasks is to further the understanding of social issues through (political) education and strengthen the willingness for political cooperation. And what place could be better for doing this than at re:publica? Together with bpb, this year and under the title “Ambivalent Technologies and the Boundaries of Openness”  we will be presenting panels on many exciting technologically, ethically, and economically divisive  themes such as drones, data protection, and dual-use.

Through the analysis of large data quantities, we can map the spread of diseases. 3D printers allow us to produce day-to-day items whilst staying independent of traditional businesses. But what happens when the same data analysis is used by nation states as surveillance tools to spy on their people? What happens when 3D printers are used to print weapons? Simply altering the intended use can dramatically alter the potentials of digital technology. In this vein, focus of the discussions will be how we citizens can profit from the digital world's potential and not be left on the way-side by the big, professional actors.

One area of contention in the world of the IN/SIDE/OUT is the boundary between openness and privacy: How open is the German state really? Does data protection really threaten the openness of the internet? How open are Germany's digital editorial departments in regards to their readers?

At re:publica 2013 and together with bpb, we are looking to find answers to some of these questions. We can look forward to hearing from editors in Germany's biggest online media about their day-to-day work, Eric King von Privacy International will talk about surveillance software, and Jan Philipp Albrecht, Member of the European Parliament and correspondent for the European data protection reform, will have to face tough questions on data protection.

This is just a snippet from our bpb sessions. More info on the individual panels can be found in the schedule soon.

*Photo CC-BY 2.0 by Helico