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Jürgen Bering

Lawyer and project coordinator

"Fundamental rights protect our access to social life. In our modern and digitized world, however, it is no longer just the state that decides on this access, but increasingly also private digital companies. In order to provide effective protection, our fundamental rights must be effective against these companies."

Biography

Jürgen Bering joined the GFF in 2021 and is in charge of the project "Fundamental Rights Binding of Digital Corporations". He studied law in Halle (Saale) and Bergen, Norway, and received his master's degrees in business law from the University of Halle and in international legal studies from New York University. Jürgen conducted research at the Institute of Business Law at the University of Halle as well as at the Human Rights Center and a department of Public Law at the University of Potsdam and was an International Law and Human Rights Fellow at the International Law Commission of the United Nations. He combined his legal clerkship with positions at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and the Federal Constitutional Court, among others.

Most recently, he worked for two and a half years as a lawyer at an international business law firm in the areas of public law and antitrust law. During this time, Jürgen also worked pro bono: He supervised the Mastodon gGmbH and was part of a pilot project in cooperation with Refugee Law Clinics Germany.

The imbalance of power between large platforms and other digital companies on the one hand and their users on the other, and in particular the resulting potential for abuse, has long been a defining factor in Jürgen's work. Already as a lawyer at the intersection of public law and antitrust law, his attention repeatedly fell on the abuse of market power. Especially in the digital realm, market power does not only have an economic dimension. Rather, market-powerful platforms can also threaten fundamental rights on the net. Due to the great and ever-increasing social importance of the net, we regularly agree to even the most unwanted clauses. However, this decision is not made autonomously, as it is de facto without alternative. As a result, we are to some extent as much at the mercy of digital companies as we otherwise are vis-à-vis the state. This justifies that our protective mechanisms - the fundamental rights - are also applied.

Topics for interviews and background discussions

  • Regulation of digital companies
  • Binding of private parties to fundamental rights
  • Abuse of market power
  • Law and algorithms
  • Law enforcement