Seminar: Inverse Transparency

Type Bachelor and Master Seminar
Semester Winter Semester 2022/23
Language English
TUMonline TUMonline

Julia Schuller
Valentin Zieglmeier

Important dates

Introductory Meeting:


Seminar meetings:


Submission deadlines:



Employers have significant control over the data of their employees. To protect employees, the workers' councils often completely forbid usage of individual-related data by employers. This is not a perfect solution though. On the one hand, nobody can truly verify that managers adhere to this (more often than not, they probably don't). On the other hand, interesting data usages might be prevented, even if employees are in principle okay with it.

Inverse Transparency is a concept that we think can help overcome these hurdles. It is based on a simple principle: All legal and legitimate data accesses are allowed, but every data access is transparent and visible to the data owners. This makes misusage unattractive, as it can be retraced. Valuable and interesting data usages on the other hand are enabled in a transparent way.

However, the question remains to what extent Inverse Transparency as passive informational approach needs to be complemented by an active control approach, which allows employees to deny data access in the first place.

Course format: in-person

Until further notice, the course is planned to take part in-person on Garching campus. This decision is subject to change depending on the Covid-19 situation at the start of the semester.

Seminar topics

This seminar covers a broad range of topics related to how Inverse Transparency and privacy protection could be conceptualized or implemented. We have defined topics from different domains and for different levels of skill. Accordingly, we can offer interesting topics for Bachelor's as well as Master's students.

All topics will be introduced and assigned in our first meeting. If you have another interesting topic in mind that is related to Inverse Transparency or privacy protection in this context, you may suggest it as an additional topic then.

A list of exemplary topics can be found in the slides of the introductory meeting.


There will be two seminar meetings over the course of the semester, and a 1–2 day block for the seminar itself (presentations and discussions). The exact dates will be announced via TUMonline.

Students will survey the literature of one of the research topics assigned to them by their supervisors; they are encouraged to find and read further relevant articles on the topic. At the end of the seminar, students are to submit a seminar paper (incl. supplementary material where applicable) that incorporates the knowledge they acquired and the findings of any study, implementation or theoretical conceptualisation they conducted whilst researching the topic. The scientific paper adopts their own succinct chain of argumentation. Merely paraphrasing and augmenting the contents of original papers is not sufficient.

In order to help students improve their submissions, we require an intermediate submission, as well as peer reviews and a final paper. All deliverables are listed below.


  • An intermediate submission (2-page extended abstract)
  • A final seminar paper written in conformance with the TUM student code of conduct
    • Length: 8-12 pages of text, plus unlimited pages for references and appendices
    • Style: Seminar paper template (see Moodle)
    • All submissions must be PDF files.
  • Peer reviews of 3 other papers (1-2 pages)
  • A presentation of 15 minutes + moderation of the subsequent discussion + participation in discussions of other presentations

Rules for participation

  1. Plagiarism of any form (blatant copy-paste, summarizing someone else's ideas/results without reference etc.) will result in immediate expulsion from the course.
  2. All submissions are mandatory. Each submission must fulfill a certain level of quality. Submissions that do not conform to the TUM student code of conduct or fail to address the given topic will not be accepted. Failing that will be graded 5.0.
  3. Late submissions will invite penalties.
  4. Non-adherence to the submission guidelines will invite penalties.
  5. Participation and attendance in all seminar meetings is mandatory. Students must read the final submissions of their colleagues and participate in the discussions.