Increasingly digital lifestyles are presenting society with a completely new set of legal challenges. On the one hand, the legal system has to incorporate these technical advances and, on the other, leverage technologies already available that enable automated enforcement of the law. With the appointment of legal expert Dirk Heckmann as Professor of Law and Security in Digital Transformation, TUM is expanding the reach of its digitalization research to systematically examine the interplay between the social sciences and technology. Through this interdisciplinary approach, TUM wishes to contribute to a better understanding of how rapid technological development is driving social change and help to shape that change in a responsible manner.
Dirk Heckmann is a much-acclaimed expert in data protection law, IT security law, e-government and legal informatics. For many years now, legislators have been building on his research to inform laws governing online privacy and digital healthcare services, for instance, with a view to placing the interests of the individual and society in general at the heart of digital change. Heckmann, who up to now has held the position of Professor of Public Law, Security Law and Internet Law at the University of Passau, will take up his professorship at TUM on October 1, 2019. As a part-time constitutional judge at the Bavarian Constitutional Court and Consumer Ambassador at the Bavarian Center for Digitalization, Heckmann is a strong advocate of basic citizen rights. He was a member of the Ethics Committee of the Federal Ministry of Transport focused on autonomous and connected driving and was appointed to the Data Ethics Committee of the federal government in 2018. He is also a director at the Bavarian Hub for Digital Transformation (bidt).
“New horizons for research and teaching”
Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, President of TUM, commented on the top-caliber appointment: “With Prof. Dirk Heckmann, we have won an outstanding legal scholar who engages with the pressing questions of our time. The legal framework plays a vital role in shaping a citizen-centric digital transformation process. Reflecting TUM’s cross-disciplinary spirit, he is also a member of both the Department of Informatics and the TUM School of Governance.rof. Heckmann’s expertise is set to open new horizons in research and teaching at our interdisciplinary Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS).“
Dirk Heckmann is looking forward to his new challenges: “I am very honored by my engagement with TUM. In collaboration with my talented colleagues, I will be able to build on my interdisciplinary research in the fields of robotics, autonomous driving and e-health. In my teaching, meanwhile, I would like to focus in particular on legal informatics, legal tech and embedding the public interest within the digitalization process.”