Aktuelle Nachrichten und Informationen von der Open Search Foundation
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The year is off to an exciting start …

At the beginning of January, the German Federal antitrust authority declared Google to be of "overriding market importance", paving the way for further legal action. This use case for new supervision of large digital corporations is made possible by an amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition, which was passed last year. 
Yesterday and today, the EU Parliament held a major debate and vote on the long-planned and hotly debated Digital Services Act (DSA). The "new digital constitution for Europe" includes, among many other regulations, restrictions on user tracking and targeted advertising.

Interestingly, companies like Google, whose business model is based on user tracking, have so far always cited small and medium-sized enterprises as an argument against regulation. – They would not survive without tracking-based advertising. According to a study published on Monday, this is not true. The majority of the companies surveyed were not happy about their dependence on ethically questionable methods and wanted alternatives. Interesting Insigths ...

The Working Group Economy is also looking for insights as a basis for a white paper: take part in the survey and answer a few questions about your search engine experiences. And because it fits so well, we also introduce the Economy Working Group in this newsletter.

Economic aspects of open search were just one of the many topics around (open) internet search that experts and active members of the #opensearch community discussed at the third International Open Search Symposium #ossym21. For all those who couldn't be there or just want to have another look, the videos of the keynotes and special sessions are now available online (thanks to Andreas Wagner from CERN!). We also reveal the dates for the Open Search conferences in 2022.

By the way: The Open Search Foundation has a new, larger board since the end of the year. More about this in this newsletter.

Have fun reading!
The team of the Open Search Foundation e.V.

PS: Desired topics? Comments? Just write to us at newsletter@opensearchfoundation.org.


79% of small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany and France believe that large online platforms - such as Google - should be more regulated in their use of personal data for advertising purposes.

Source: Amnesty International/Global Witness/YouGov

Google spends €5.750.000 a year on lobbying in Brussels.

Source: Statista, September 2021 

Study „Tracking-based Advertising”

SMEs want tracking - don't they?

No sooner had the EU Commission announced its plans for DMA (Digital Markets Act) and DSA (Digital Services Act) in December 2020 than Google set its lobbyists in motion. Among other objectives, the Alphabet subsidiary's business model based on tracking, profiling and advertising (keywords: behavioural targeting, #SurveillanceAdvertising) should not be weakened by the new regulation.

A popular argument put forward by Google lobbyists "pro tracking" is that advertising generated by individual profiling and played out with microtargeting is necessary for the survival of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Europe. They would not want to do without it.

The opposite seems to be the case, as a recent survey among SMEs in Germany and France shows. The surveyed business owners are not satisfied with the methods of tracking-based advertising, have ethical concerns and wish for alternatives.

The survey was commissioned by Amnesty International and Global Witness. YouGov surveyed over 600 business owners in Germany and France.

Here are some of the results:

  • Three quarters of small and medium-sized businesses surveyed believe that tracking-based advertising violates the right to privacy and other human rights.
  • Tech giants should be subject to stricter regulations when using personal data for advertising purposes, say almost 79 percent of respondents.
  • The majority of business owners believe that their customers are not comfortable receiving targeted online advertising based on their ethnicity (62 percent), sexual orientation (66 percent), health (67 percent), religious or political beliefs (65 percent), personal life events such as pregnancy, bereavement, divorce (62 percent) or online behaviour (e.g. search history, websites visited, purchases made – 60 percent).

Why tracking-based advertising is still booming at Google and Facebook? Businesses suffer from a lack of alternatives: 69 percent of the entrepreneurs surveyed said that the market dominance of Facebook and Google leaves them no choice but to use their advertising services. 

Clearly an opportunity for other models and providers. All the more reason to rely on non-tracking browsers and search engines to give them more reach. – As the Open Search Foundation, we see this as a reinforcement of our mission to demand and promote public good-oriented alternatives.

The YouGov poll was published on Monday (17 January 2022). For more information, visit Amnesty International and Global Witness. Details in Study Volume D and Study Volume F.

Join in

Survey Quickie: Online survey for the Working Group Economy

No sound concepts without data and knowledge! As a basis for the white paper project "Economic Value of Open Search", the Economy Working Group of the Open Search Foundation (What is it and what do they do?) has developed a survey

We need your input – and about five minutes of your time. Among other things, we would like to know more about which search engine(s) you use and how you use search engines. The survey is in English and will run until 20 February 2022. We do not track and everything is anonymous. So get to it and fill it out! 

A big thank you for taking a few minutes of your time!

By the way: 
It helps if as many different people as possible from companies, authorities, universities, young old people, ... fill out the survey. So feel free to pass on the invitation to the survey and the link!

Click here for the survey

Working Group Economy

Identifying the economic value

How can an open search infrastructure strengthen Europe as an economic area? What could be the economic impact of open internet search in its various forms? What could sustainable and promising operating models for the open search infrastructure look like?

The Economy Expert Group explores the impact and benefits of an independent open search infrastructure and its ecosystem as a "commons" for the EU economy. For this purpose, it exchanges ideas with actors from the economy and politics, collects the essential questions around relevant "use cases" and the operation of the envisaged search index, and develops concepts.

The white paper project "Economic Value of Open Search" is currently being launched. And it is precisely for this purpose that the above-mentioned survey is being conducted. So take part and spread the word. 

And if you are interested in the topic beyond the survey, have questions or would like to support the Economy working group with expertise and/or contacts, you are cordially invited!

Just send an email to economy@opensearchfoundation.org.

Get more information
Illustration Sprechblasen


»I see there our challenge and our next iteration:
We should build exactly that distributed indexing system that could make the world better and improve drastically the utilization of search, and make it open again.«

Tim Smith
(Head of Collaboration, Devices and Applications Group am CERN)
at Open Search Symposium 2021

Open Search Symposium

#ossym21 follow-up

Three days, six research tracks, 34 presentations, two themed sessions and five keynotes - in October 2021, the third edition of the international open search conference took place: For three days, experts and active members of the #opensearch community discussed the topic of #opensearch from different perspectives. 

Missed the keynote? We can help! The presentations by Tim Smith (Head of Collaboration, Devices and Applications Group at CERN), Astrid Mager (science and technology researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences), Werner Stengg (digital expert in the cabinet of EU Commissioner and Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager) and Carla Hustedt (Head of the Digitised Society Division at Stiftung Mercator) are now available online.

Also available: The presentations from the #EthicsInSearch-Session with Pernille Tranberg (data ethics expert and co-founder of the European think tank DataEthics.eu), digital ethics researcher Mirko Tobias Schäfer from Utrecht University/Utrecht Data School and Christine Plote (Open Search Foundation). From the Alternative Search session, you can currently access the presentation by Xayn founders Leif-Nissen Lundbæk and Michael Huth.

Thanks again to CERN* for hosting #ossym21. 

P.s: To all those who are eagerly awaiting the proceedings of the conference: they are in progress. Please be patient a little longer.

#ossym22 – Save the dates

After the conference is before the conference:

9 May 2022
Spring Workshop #ossymspring22
Webmeeting on Open Search

10-12 October 2022
4th Open Search Symposium #ossym22
International interdisciplinary conference on Open Internet Search

Updates continuously on the website of the Open Search Foundation

Behind the scenes: The new Executive Board

Three become four.

There is a lot to do, so it is good to have reinforcements. That's why the board was not only elected by rotation in December, but also expanded. Stefan Voigt and Frank Hauser are back, Christine Plote and Christian Geminn are new members. 

Christine Plote is a founding member of the Open Search Foundation. Her main job is as a self-employed communications consultant. At osf, she moderates the Working Group Ethics and the #EthicsInSearch project.

Christian Geminn, a lawyer, is the managing director of the provet* research group at the University of Kassel. At the osf, he moderates the Legal Working Group.

A big thank you goes to Alexander Decker, a founding member of the osf, who did not stand for re-election to the board, but fortunately will remain with us with his valuable work, especially for the Awareness Working Group.

More information about the board team and all members can be found on the website.

*Project Group on Constitutionally Compatible Technology Design

Phone: +49 178 60 149 10
Email: yourinfo@opensearchfoundation.org
Web: opensearchfoundation.org

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Represented by: Dr. Stefan Voigt, Chair of the Board

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