Axel Polleres is currently a visiting professor at Stanford under the Distinguished Visiting Austrian Chair Professors program hosted by The Europe Center in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
During his stay at Stanford, Axel will work mainly with the Biomedical Informatics Research Center (BMIR). At his home institution he heads the Institute of Information Business of Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Wien) which he joined in September 2013 as a full professor in the area of Data and Knowledge Engineering. Since January 2017 he is also a member of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna Faculty. Apart from his research in the area of efficient and intelligent Data management, Semantic Web and Web standards, he recently co-founded a research lab on Privacy and Sustainable Computing at WU where he works on projects about privacy and lowering the entry barriers to Open Data on the Web.
While visiting Stanford, he plans on transfer his work on Linked Data, which he so far applied mostly in the are of Open Government Data, to other domains such as biomedical research data or in the library domain, both areas where the integration of vast amounts of heterogeneous (meta-)data from different sources and lowering entry-barriers to access this data are likewise important.
Axel will be giving a talk on Digital transformation of democracy? Challenges and Opportunities at The Europe Center on May 17, 2018. He will discuss the challenges and opportunities of various digital initiatives and their potential to affect democracy. More concretely, he will discuss the status of Open Government Data, eID, and Online privacy in Austria and in an international context:
Open Government Data (OGD) is a global trend to enable transparency by making public data accessible to citizens, providing trustworthy and transparent information in machine readable form, not least promising to counter populism and "fake news". Austria's OGD initiative is a success story, but also faces many challenges. Electronic IDs can provide means to make eGovernment and interaction with public institutions more efficient, but depending on how hey are implemented, also provide a potential threat to privacy and enable surveillance: this holds both IDs provided by international companies but also for national eIDs: against this background, we shall compare the Austrian eID system with other, alternative models. Lastly, he will speak about transparency and accountability of processing of personal information by both private and public institutions. The new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides both an opportunity, but also imposes several challenges to the government economically and in terms of preserving the citizens' rights.