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The "black-box society"– unfettered information capitalism

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In our latest special issue we focus on the economic aspects of digitization. Or to put it another way: information and data as the new gold standard.

We invited Yvonne Hofstetter, attorney and publicist, to share her views on our "digital responsibility" initiative in her essay, "The black-box society."

In that article she asks whether digitization might actually be a sweet-tasting medicine that has a number of serious side effects. Since the classic elements of capitalism – labor, natural resources and capital – are being depleted, the business economy is shifting toward the exploitation of information as a source of profits. And enterprises are quite successful in doing this, as reflected in the remarkable share values of the largest U.S. corporations.

However, this situation resembles a fait accompli because social and political forces are not represented in the process – there is virtually no public discussion or debate. "Economic actors press forward, and policymakers gaze in awe at the "new territory" they open up." Hofstetter calls for appropriate regulation in response to such warning signals: "The mission now is to create an information economy that is both social and liberal and that will give young generations both beautiful technologies and good lives."

But how much (or how little) value do Germans attach to their data? We examine that question with a series of graphics. Would you have imagined that 44 percent of the German workforce would be willing to provide their employers with data from their personal fitness trackers? It's true – they would do so for half of one month's salary.

Other surprising details are included in the article "Facts of interest to 10 on big data and crowdsourcing."

What's more, Deutsche Telekom is seriously contemplating how it handles data as well. Get to know why we have made a one-page summary of our data privacy information.

Enjoy the read!

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Digital responsibility

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