In the course of fighting the Corona crisis, new digital infrastructures were developed worldwide, which have numerous other components besides tracing apps. How do individual design decisions affect the effectiveness of such an infrastructure, and what influence do legal frameworks have?
In the project "Developing the Socio-Technical Architecture Method to Inform Policy Choices in the Shaping of COVID-19 Digital Infrastructure", funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, the HBI is working together with project partners from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hamburg and the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University in Israel. In this project, the institute examines the complex socio-technical digital infrastructures that are currently being developed (not only in Germany) in the course of combating the Corona crisis focusing on tracking and tracing apps such as the German Corona warning app.
The project aims to develop an analytical framework to support policy makers in understanding the impact of individual design decisions on the impact of the whole infrastructure, and thus to make informed and targeted decisions and identify barriers to effectiveness.
To this end, different COVID-19 tracking apps developed in Germany and Israel, along with their embedding in the surrounding infrastructure, will be examined and compared to understand the resulting implications from different design decisions. In the end, this should result in a more generalised understanding that supports the assessment of the impact of policy decisions related to technologies during crises and beyond, including the impact on human rights.
Photo by Markus Winkler