Big Data: Technology and Law (FS 20)

Data processing technology has gone through massive changes in the past years. Daily, billions of search queries are handled, millions of messages are posted on social networks, a myriad of shopping baskets are collected at online retailers, our smartphones continuously collect movement data, and some of us subscribe to the quantified self via fitness trackers or smartwatches - Big Data is collected everywhere and at all times. The collection of these data offers enormous opportunities but also entails challenges. This course provides participants with an interdisciplinary view on Big Data and its capabilities.

Introductory Event

On Thursday, 20 February 2020 (10:15-12:00 am) Prof. Dr. Abraham Bernstein and Prof. Dr. Florent Thouvenin will give an introduction to the objectives of the course and its schedule. They will highlight the most relevant opportunities and challenges associated with Big Data from a legal and a technological perspective.

Groups and Topics

On Thursday, 5 March 2020 (10:15 – open end) each student will very shortly present her/himself (name, fields of study, reason to choose this course and interests in specific topics). Each presentation should last no longer than one minute. Following the presentation, a joint lunch will be organised to allow students to exchange ideas and to define topics they want to work on in a group consisting of computer scientists and lawyers. This should allow all students to form or join a group. All groups must be interdisciplinary and should consist of 4-5 students.

Each student has to provide a summary of his/her personal profile (half page, incl. contact details) to by Monday, 2 March 2020 at the latest. The profiles will be made available to all participants.

On Friday, 13 March 2020 (9:00 am -1:00 pm) the groups will present their ideas for a potential paper/artifact during class (max. 5 minutes per group). All groups will get a short feedback on their idea from the professors. Based on these presentations the final assignment of groups/topics will take place in class and/or afterwards. All groups will have to communicate their team members (who) and their topic (what) to by Monday, 23 March 2020 at the latest.

Papers/Artifacts and Abstracts

Each group will work on a cross-disciplinary Big Data project and write-up a paper or provide other scientific output (“artifacts”) on a technical and legal Big Data challenge (e.g. develop a website, wiki, app, interactive analysis, or the like).

The deadline for handing in the papers/artifacts is Friday, 15 May 2020. The papers must be sent to by 11:59 pm of 15 May 2020 at the very latest. (Please note that lawyers are very serious about deadlines). We will communicate the submission procedure at a later stage. Groups that just write a paper have to deliver approximately 1500 words per group member (e.g. group with 5 people: 5 x 1500 words = approximately 7500 words in total). Groups that build an artifact should provide a short description of the problem they wanted to solve and the solution they provided; the description should be no longer than 500 words per group member.

By Monday, 18 May 2020 (11:59 pm) each group will have to deliver a one page summary of their paper/artifact (one page) to The abstracts will be sent to all participants and all participants are required to read all abstracts to be able to participate in the discussion at the workshop.

Subject to the number of students participating in the course, not every group will be able to present their findings at the workshop. We will decide which groups will be able to present after the handing in of the papers and communicate this decision in due course. We will assign one paper/artefact of another group to each group and request them to comment on the other groups work at the workshop.


The workshop will take place on Friday, 22 May 2020 (all day) and Saturday, 23 May 2020 (all day if needed).



Thursday, 20 February 2020,10:15-12:00 am

Handing in of personal profile

Monday, 2 March 2020, 11:59 pm

Groups and Topics (intro) Thursday, 5 March 2020, 10:15 am - open end

Groups and Topics (presentation)

Friday, 13 March 2020, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Handing in of groups and topics

Monday, 23 March 2020, 11:59 pm

Handing in of papers/abstracts

Friday, 15 May 2020, 11:59 pm

Submission of summary of papers/artifacts

Monday, 18 May 2020, 11:59 pm


Friday, 22 May 2020 (all day)
Saturday, 23 May 2020 (all day, if needed)