Dr. Paula Helm

Akademische Rätin

Science and Technology Policy

From Fall 2022, Paula is taking up a position as Ass. Prof. in Data Science & Ethics at University of Amsterdam. You can reach her via: p.m.helm@uva.nl

My work is situated at the intersection of STS and application-oriented ethics. My focus lies on practicing, experimenting with, and advancing integrated research approaches that aim to bring ethical and social aspects to informatics, technology development, and design and innovation processes. I hold a doctorate in philosophy (summa cum laude). Before starting my current position, I was a research associate at the International Center for Ethics in Science at Tübingen University, where I still co-lead a project on trustworthy AI. I completed my PhD while working as a research associate at the Department of Sociology in Frankfurt. Here, I worked in the interdisciplinary research project “Structural Transformations of Privacy” and was a member of the “Lab for Studies of Science and Technology”. I was a visiting scholar at the Center for Surveillance Studies at Queen’s University (invited by David Lyon) and at New York University, where I worked with the Privacy Research Group (invited by Helen Nissenbaum) and the Institute for Public Knowledge during the exciting period of the emergence of Critical Algorithm Studies. I am a working mother of two.

  • Integrated Research
  • Critical Data Studies
  • AI- and Data-Ethics
  • Values in Design
  • Sociotechnical Dimension of Addiction

Articles in Academic Journals and Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • Leveraging or Exploiting? Breaking through Data Colonialism and Ethnocentrism when building a diversity-aware social media platform, under review [together with Amalia De Götzen, Daniel Gatica-Perez, Luca Chernuzzi, Salvador Ruiz, Shyam Diwakar].
  • Problematic Internet Use and Co-Addictive Design, under review [with T. Matzner]. 
  • Data, Detox, Design. Disentangling Digital Disconnection and Agency, in: Alexander, Taylor, Jenifer Cearns (Eds.): The Analogue Idyll. Disconnection, Detox and Departure from the Digital World. Bristol University Press, forthcoming 2022.
  • *Promoting Ethical Awareness in Communication Analysis: Investigating Potentials and Limits of Visual Analytics, accepted for proceedings at ACM FAccT [together with Max Fischer, Daniel Keim, Simon Hirsbrunner et al.], https://doi.org/10.1145/3531146.3533151.
  • *Diversity by Design? Balancing the Protection and Inclusion of Users in Online Social Networks, in: Conference Proceedings of the ACM/AAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, Society [together with Loizos Michael, Laura Schelenz], https://doi.org/10.1145/3514094.3534149.
  • *Beyond the Prediction Paradigm. Chances and Risks of responsible AI in the fight against Organized Crime, in (Luciano Floridi, Jeff Ward, Cynthia Rudin, eds.): Artificial Intelligence and the Rule of Law. 84 Duke Law and Contemporary Problems. Duke University Press [with Thilo Hagendorff].
  • *Longing for a Selfless Self and other Ambivalences of Anonymity, in: Anon Collective (ed.): Book of Anonymity. Earth/Milky Way: Punctum Books: 401-423.
  • Anonymität. Wissen gestalten durch Nicht-Wissen, in: Koch, Gertraud/Moser, Johannes/Hansen, Lara (Ed.): Welt, Wissen, Design.Hamburger Journal für Kulturanthropologie. Hamburg University Press: 168-185 [Anonymity: Designing knowledge through not-knowing, in: World, Knowledge, Design].
  • Doing STS In, Through And Beyond the German Academic System. Discussion Paper, DOI:10.31235/osf.io/8pu5c [with Ingmar Lippert, Julie Mewes, Stefan Laser, Estrid Sørensen, Laura Kocksch].
  • *Linking Loose Ends. An Interdisciplinary Privacy and Communication Model [with Katharina Bräunlich, Tobias Dienlin, Johannes Eichenhofer], in: New Media & Society, 2020, 22(9): 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820905045
  • *Normative Paradoxes of Privacy. Literacy and Choice in Platform Societies [with Sandra Seubert], in: Surveillance & Society, 2020, 18(2): 185-198. https://doi.org/10.24908/ss.v18i2.13356
  • *Sobriety versus Abstinence. How 12-Stepper Negotiate Recovery Across Groups, in: Addiction Research & Theory, 2019, 27(1): 29-36. https://doi.org/10.1080/16066359.2018.1530348
  • Normative Paradoxien der Privatheit in datenökonomischen Zeiten [with Sandra Seubert], in: Borucki, Isabelle/Schünemann, Wolf (Hg.):Internet und Staat. Perspektiven auf eine komplizierte Beziehung. Frankfurt: Nomos, 2019, 81-104.
  • Myth #45: Privacy is dead [with Katharina Bräunlich, Tobias Dienlin, Johannes Eichenhofer], in: Busted! The Truth About The 50 Most Common Internet Myths, in: Matthias Kettemann, Stephan Dreyer (ed.). Berlin: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology/Leibniz Institute for Media Research/Hans-Bredow-Institute, 202-206 [translated in 8 Languages].
  • Reflexionen zu einem social turn in den privacy studies. Sozialwissenschaftliche-rechtliche Perspektiven [with Johannes Eichenhofer], in: Henning, M. et al. (Hg.): Digitalität und Privatheit. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2019, 139-165 [Reflexion on a social turn in privacy studies, in Digitality and Privacy].
  • *Treating Sensitive Topics Online. A Privacy Dilemma, Ethics & Information Technology, 2018, 20(4): 303-313. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-018-9482-4
  • *What can Self-Organized Addiction Therapy Groups teach us about Anonymity? In: Ephemera. Theory & Politics in Organization. 2017, 17(2): 327-350.
  • *Group privacy in Times of Big Data, in: Digital Culture & Society. 2017, 16(2): 137-152. https://doi.org/10.14361/dcs-2016-0209
  • Privatheit und Demokratie [with Sandra Seubert], in: Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen. 2017(2): 120-124, [Privacy and Democracy]. https://doi.org/10.1515/fjsb-2017-0032
  • Transparenz und Anonymität: Potentiale, Irrtümer, Grenzen, in: Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen. 2017(2): 142-152, [Transparency and Anonymity: Potentials, Fallacies, Limits]. https://doi.org/10.1515/fjsb-2017-0035
  • *Freiheit durch Anonymität? Privatheitsansprüche, Privatheitsnormen und der Kampf um Anerkennung, in: West-End. Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, 2016(1): 133-144, [Freedom through Anonymity? Privacy Claims, Privacy Norms, and the Struggle for Recognition].
  • *Addiction as Emotional Illness: The Testimonies of Anonymous Recovery Groups (2016) in: Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. 2016, 236(1): 79-91. https://doi.org/10.1080/07347324.2016.1114314
  • Die utopischen Sicherheitszwänge Süchtiger und das Wagnis der Anonymität, in: Paragrana. Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie, 2015, 24(1): 58-69, [Security Constraints of People with Addictions and the Risk of Anonymity]. https://doi.org/10.1515/para-2015-0006
  • Mythos und Autonomie im Therapieprogramm selbstgeründeter Suchtgenesungsgruppen, in: Zimmermann, Harm-Peer (Hg.): Lust am Mythos. Neuzugänge zu einem populären Phänomen. Marburg: Jonas-Verlag, 2015, 262-270, [Myth and autonomy in the treatment programs of self-organized addiction recovery groups].
  • Lust am Mythos. Neuzugänge zu einem populären Phänomen. Marburg: Jonas-Verlag, 2015, 262-270, [Myth and autonomy in the treatment programs of self-organized addiction recovery groups].

Full-Length Books

  • Suchtkultur und Gruppentherapie. Vom anonymen Ich zum anonymen Wir (2017), Wiesbaden: Springer VS, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, [Anonymity and Autonomy. An ethnography of addiction therapy].

Edited Volumes and Special Issues

  • Herausgabe des Studentischen Sonderheftes: Leben im Netz (2020). Kuckuck. Notizen zur Alltagskultur.
  • Die Ratsfrau (2018). Zeitschrift des Gleichstellungsrats. Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Vol. 21.
  • Sonderheft: Privatheit und Demokratie (2017). Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen, Vol. 30/2 [ed. with Sandra Seubert].
  • Räume und Kulturen des Privaten (2016). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften [ed. with Eva Beyvers, Martin Hennig], [Spaces and Cultures of Privacy].

Media Articles

  • Städter im Zwielicht nächtlicher Straßen, in: Kuckuck. Notizen zur Alltagskultur. 2009(2): 103-111.

* = peer-reviewed

  • 2022: “Making the Invisible Visible. Values in Design and Infrastructure. MA Responsibility in Science, Engineering and Technology (RESET) and Science and Technology Studies (STS), Technical University Munich [in English].
  • 2022: „Making a Mess with Methods II, MA STS, Technical University Munich [in English].
  • 2022: STEM Mentorship: AI – Data Science – Informatics. MA RESET, Technical University Munich [in English].
  • 2021: “Ethics in Science and Technology”, Professions-bezogene Vertiefung Ethik und Gesellschaft für Studiengänge der Informatik, BWL, Psychologie, Universität Ulm.
  • 2021: “Ethics for Design”, “Values in Technology”, Online Courses for the EU-funded E-Learning Platform “The Internet of Us”. Course available on: https://elearning.internetofus.eu/ [in English].
  • 2021: „Digitale Plattformen und Demokratie“. Professions-bezogene Vertiefung Ethik und Gesellschaft für Studiengänge der Informatik, BWL, Psychologie. Universität Ulm.
  • 2019: „Forschungspraktikum Teil 2: Critical Digital Studies. Qualitativ Forschen im Netz“. MA Soziologie/Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, GU Frankfurt.
  • 2019: “Democratizing the Digital. Puzzles, Principles, Paradoxes”. Surveillance Studies Summer Seminars. Queen`s University/CA [in English].
  • 2018/2019: „Forschungspraktikum Teil 1: Critical Digital Studies. Theorien und Methoden“. Lehrforschungspraktikum Teil I, MA Soziologie/Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, GU Frankfurt.
  • 2017: „Privatheits- und Überwachungstheorien“. MA Politische Theorie/Philosophie, GU Frankfurt.
  • 2015: “Wellness, Consciousness, Transformation. Body-Mind-Relationships in European and American Culture”, MA American Culture, Society, and History, LMU München (co-teaching with Florencia Benitez-Schäfer) [in English].


  • Proposals: EU H2020
  • Conferences: ACM/AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence Ethics and Society 2022, Internationale Konferenz für Wirtschaftsinformatik 2021, Privacy and Data Protection Summer School 2021, Association of Internet Researchers 2022
  • Journals: The Information Society, Human-Computer Interaction; Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft; Ethics and Information Technology; Journal of Public Policy; Addiction Research & Theory; Int. Journal of Public Health; Ephemera. Theory and Politics in Organization; Social Analysis.
  • 2022: Review Board Bavarian Elite MA-programm “Responsibility in Science, Engineering, Society” and MA “Science and Technology Studies”
  • 2016-2017 Equal Opportunity Commissioner, Goether University Frankfurt, FB 03
  • Stsing e. V. (Chair from 2020-2021)
  • European Association for Studies of Science and Technology (EASST)
  • Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)
  • Design Justice Network (DJN)
  • Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)
  • Gesellschaft für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung (GWTF)
  • Frankfurt Lab for Studies of Science and Technology
  • 2016-2020: Cornelia Goethe Centrum für Frauenstudien und die Erforschung der Geschlechterverhältnisse