For many people in the digital age it has become a matter of course to be able to use applications such as weather apps, digital city maps or interactive maps of infection spread at any time. These offers are based on data provided by the public sector. Public sector information is thus omnipresent in everyday life – often unnoticed by the users themselves. For the stability and the prosperity of an open information society, it is crucial that this information is in principle accessible to everyone. This raises the question of how rules should be designed to achieve the best possible use of public sector information.
Heiko Richter pursues this question in his dissertation entitled “Information as Infrastructure – Towards a Competition- and Innovation-Oriented Framework for Public Sector Information”. In this context, he brings together the public law regulations on the access to and dissemination of information, EU competition law and intellectual property law in a comprehensive infrastructure approach. Based on this approach, specific regulatory frameworks for public sector information can be further developed in a competition- and innovation-oriented manner. The study thus creates a new level of knowledge and reflection on the role of information for the economy, society and state.
Finally, the dissertation provides concrete recommendations for action on how the EU and its member states can adapt existing law in order to create and secure the functional conditions of a liberal society in the midst of the digital transformation. The study thus bridges the gap between legal-interdisciplinary fundamental research and the setting of rules. Accordingly, its results are just as relevant for academics in the applicable fields of law, as they are for decision-makers in legal policy.
With the Humboldt Prize, the Humboldt University of Berlin annually honors outstanding scientific work at university level at the opening of the academic year. So far, jurisprudential studies have been awarded the Prize relatively rarely. The dissertation will be published in 2021 by Mohr Siebeck Verlag.
All winners of the Humboldt Prize 2020 can be found here.