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Digital Shift Conference 2019 inspires with an interdisciplinary approach and agile methods

by Katharina Schmid
16. October 2019

After a successful premiere in Linz in 2018, this year the Digital Shift conference took place on the 25th of September in Munich. The core of the event was a new concept of not only considering compliance topics such as data protection and IT security in isolation, but in connection with new technologies (blockchain, AI, digital twin) and other aspects such as digital ethics.

All talks at the DigitalShift are available free of charge on the conference website www.digitalshift.xyz in German and English.

The current challenges in the compliance area, for example with the new “EU Whistleblower Directive”, show that a holistic approach is necessary. This should create an incentive to report violations of the law, in particular through a higher level of protection for whistleblowers.This not only affects technical aspects of IT security, such as setting up anonymous reporting systems; interdisciplinary legal considerations between GDPR information rights and the protection of whistleblowers also play a role.

Group image speaker
impressions audience
Host Herbert Mayrhofer

Dr. Burkhard Fassbach & Dr. Benedikt Schneiders:

"The Smoking Gun - Whistleblowing and Data Protection"

Burkhard Fassbach

Dr. Burkhard Fassbach (whistleblowing expert) and Dr. Benedikt Schneiders (data protection expert) from Schneiders & Behrendt emphasized the importance of the interaction between digital whistleblowing systems and ombudsmen during their talk in order to implement compliance requirements.

Leif-Nissen Lundbæk & Dr. Markus Kaulartz:
Privacy in AI & Federated Learning"

Leif-Nissen Lundbaek and Markus Kaulartz

Technical aspects such as AI and Blockchain were included directly at the compliance conference not only from a holistic, but also from an economic point of view. This became particularly clear in the double lecture by Leif-Nissen Lundbæk, CEO of XAIN AG and Markus Kaulartz, lawyer at CMS on the topic “Privacy in AI & Federated Machine Learning”. Lundbæk: “Universal values like data protection are our top export into the world. Innovative AI developments that live up to these values could put the EU at the forefront of technological innovation.

"Contrary to popular belief, Europe is not left behind by the US or China in the race for AI."

Leif-Nissen Lundbæk

All talks at the DigitalShift are available free of charge on the conference website www.digitalshift.xyz in German and English.

Max Schrems: "The problems with enforcement
of GDPR rights in practice"

Max Schrems

Max Schrems, data protection activist and managing director of noyb explained in his talk that GDPR provides a good approach for this data protection export, but it can still be improved in practice. High court costs, opponents with deep pockets, evidence problems and rapid changes in the area of data protection law make enforcing the GDPR rights against tech giants like Facebook & Co. not impossible, but difficult. The ECJ judgment in Max Schrems vs. Facebook, and thus the future of the Privacy Shield is expected soon.

Compliance - Why? How? What?

These unpredictable, rapid changes in jurisdiction are also one of the reasons why the entire area of compliance has increased in complexity during recent years. To reflect this development, the DigitalShift deviated from the classic conference format and used agile methods at a central point. The speakers' talks were divided into 3 sprints:

  • Sprint 1: Why?
    Why is compliance such an important topic and what opportunities do the legal requirements offer?
  • Sprint 2: How?
    How can companies tackle compliance efficiently and sustainably?
  • Sprint 3: What?
    Which technologies help to implement compliance requirements and are there already use cases?

After each sprint there was a discussion between the speakers and the audience. Especially the thesis of the lecturer Dr. Jana Moser, Managing Director at 2MG Consulting and DATAREALITY VENTURES, on the topic that data protection can never be a USP was discussed controversially.

Dr. Christoph Steiger: "Digital Mind-Shift"

Dr. Christoph Steiger

In parallel to the current technological developments, Dr. Christoph Steiger, Senior Partner at Roland Berger, demanded an accompanying "Mind Shift" towards a more agile and digital thinking in the management levels of today's companies. In his lecture he showed concrete examples of how this can be achieved through modern leadership and new forms of organization. Skills and framework conditions that are not only necessary today for a successful implementation of digital transformation, but in particular also for the acquisition and retention of young talents.

Prof. Dr. Dirk Heckmann: Keynote Digital Ethics

Prof. Dirk Heckmann

The DigitalShift 2019 concluded with the keynote speech by Prof. Dr. Dirk Heckmann, Director at the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation, Chairman of the DGRI and member of the Data Ethics Committee. His talk was also eagerly awaited because the data ethics commission will present its final report on October 23, 2019. The report is expected to provide guidelines for dealing ethically with people and data in the information age.

In his talk at the DigitalShift, Prof. Heckmann put forward the thesis that many of the currently discussed questions of digital ethics are basically legal questions and should also be answered as such: “The design of many digital innovations is not unethical, it is simply illegal”. But he also found:

“With all legal hurdles and limits: it is unethical to miss opportunities digitalization offers for a dignified life.”

Prof. Dr. Dirk Heckmann

Further Impressions

Image rights: Akarion , Photographer: Frédéric Aubonney
Markus Costabiei
Patrick Redtenbacher and Sascha Maschek
Dr. Sonja Dürager
Silvan Jongerius
Matthias Lichtenthaler
Erik Rusek, Dr. Jana Moser and Phillip Amann
Impressions discussion
Dr. Benedikt Schneiders
Program DigitalShift

All talks at the DigitalShift are available free of charge on the conference website www.digitalshift.xyz in German and English.

Katharina Schmid
About the author

Katharina Schmid studied mathematics and now works as a copywriter and content marketer at Akarion.