Gymnasium Martineum Halberstadt

Finalist for the region East

INSIGHT – Transparency. Privacy. Insight.

On a daily basis, we surf the internet, go jogging or perhaps buy ourselves new shoes. These actions occur every day and seem harmless. Yet nowadays, there are cookies, smartwatches and Big Data. In every aspect of life, whether it is an internet search or a visit to the doctor, our data is recorded.

The collection and processing of our data allows companies, such as Meta, analyze and manipulate us. For example, if a person has poor circulation, that person might be offered a blood pressure medication or perhaps a substandard life insurance policy.

However, as unsuspecting citizens, we do not notice this. Once we choose to access our data, Instagram immediately sends us several thousand pages of overwhelming information. How are we supposed to track how these companies manipulate us and which data they collect from us?

Immanuel Kant would say: “Enlightenment is the exit of man from his self-inflicted immaturity”. Our goal is to protect people from manipulation through
enlightenment and to increase their ability to act, so that they can make better decisions.

Diagramme with and without video

In a survey comprised of 447 participants from the Gymnasium Martineum, we demonstrated that an educational video has a positive effect on the participants’ level of knowledge.

43% of the participants who viewed the educational video, answered the question “What data do you think companies collect from you?” more realistically in
every category. This is shown by the purple bars being higher than the orange bars in the diagram below. This means that education has a visible effect on our knowledge and knowledge is the basis for self-determined, responsible decisions, which we strive to achieve with our app.

The purpose of our INSIGHT app is to promote education. It is provided by the non-profit and charitable organization INSIGHT e. S.. Art. 20 (2) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) allows individuals to transfer their data directly from one company, e.g. Meta, to another company such as the INSIGHT app. Utilizing this method, our app can receive this data and convey it to the user in a transparent, structured way.

Mock up of the INSIGHT app

Their YES! topic

If it costs nothing, you are the product – how does that change us and how can we change that?

by Maximilian Müller (ESMT Berlin)

Did you just get excited about a great new app that costs nothing? Have you thought about how the app’s developers earn their money? The more digitalization and social media advances, the clearer it becomes: If it costs nothing, you are the product. The digital world at our fingertips offers us many opportunities, but it also carries risks that should not be underestimated.
We live in a system that some call surveillance capitalism. Algorithms not only track our behavior, but they also potentially shape our next steps. How this world where we control everything through our cell phones changes us is open to debate: Do we really have “nothing to hide”? Are we being manipulated?

In this project, your group will explore these questions by examining what surveillance capitalism is, what consequences it might have on our behavior, and what alternatives might exist.

– Is there a great danger from surveillance capitalism?
– Are we informed enough about it? If not, how can we better educate people?
– What other types of economies are there that are better for our personal development and for democracy?
– How can we use technology or technologies to enable more freedom and autonomy?

Maximilian Müller

Maximilian Müller is associate professor of accounting at ESMT Berlin. In his research, he examines the impact of transparency in the economic system. This includes, for example, how companies best communicate with investors, but also regulation, where politicians demand more transparency from companies (e.g. with regard to finance, taxes, and sustainability).
kommunizieren aber auch um Regulierung, bei der die Politik von Unternehmen mehr Transparenz einfordert (etwa bzgl. Finanzen, Steuern und Nachhaltigkeit).