Information Society

Continuous rapid progress in information and communication technologies and the many ways they can be applied open up a wide area of research for TA.

We live in the age of the Information Society. The production and distribution of knowledge has become a significant activity, influencing culture, politics and society. The term is also frequently used to mean social change. The European Union recognises this as well by regarding it as an influential and broad political vision.

The ITA focuses on a variety of key aspects in this field. Currently, we focus on three particularly important topics that are partly interrelated: privacy issues, the use of information technology in public administration, and the impact of networked environments on our lives.

Privacy

First, we examine the relationship between the ever-changing computerised world and our private sphere. Some technologies are a direct threat to our private lives, for instance surveillance cameras; others only affect it indirectly, for instance mobile phones. Our focus is on reconciling the need to protect privacy for the sake of the development of society with commercial interests and our need for security.

E-Governance

Our second focus is e-governance. Public agencies, from federal ministries to local communities, increasingly use the Internet in order to contact citizens. Often, they simply provide information, but sometimes they even organise participatory events in the digital sphere. We look at how this development changes the public bodies internally and their relationship to society.

Networked Environments

Networked environments are our third area of interest: The interlinking of hard- and software, information and people is an essential characteristic of the information society, and the potential and actual impacts need TA's special attention. For instance, social network sites like Facebook or cloud services provide attractive links between people and data, but may also have significant effects on how our societies evolve in terms of personal relationships. Another example is how scientists’ increasingly digital working environments change the way research is done today.

See the following special pages for details of our research:

Information technologies are ever present in our lives

Selected projects related to Information Society