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First Analysis of the Austrian Anti-Hate Speech Law (NetDG/KoPlG)

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On September 3rd the Austrian government released a legislative package to tackle online hate speech. Besides a comprehensive justice reform, the package also contains a bill that creates new obligations for online platforms to remove illegal user-generated content. This article offers a first analysis of the so called Kommunikationsplattformen-Gesetz (KoPl-G) and the many similarities it has to the German Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG).

The New EU Net Neutrality Guidelines: BEREC Responds to Criticism

The Open Internet Regulation 2015/2120 forms the legal basis for the net neutrality protections that are in effect in the EU. The Regulation foresaw that the net neutrality rules would be evaluated by 30 April 2019, roughly three and a half years after the Regulation came into effect, and while the European Commission has decided not to amend the regulation, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) has decided to update their implementation guidelines for national regulators.

Help us survive the year!

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This February we have celebrated our 10 year anniversary as an association. At the time, we enjoyed our little office party and we had no idea about what we would soon be faced with: the Corona crisis, for which we outlined implications and recommendations for digital rights right away. Not only did the Corona crisis increase our workload immensely, but it also complicated our work due to political circumstances.

Austria's Biggest Data Privacy Scandal: Private Residential Addresses Made Public

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Nobody took data protection into account for the so-called “Supplementary Register for Other Concerned Parties” (Ergänzungsregister für sonstige Betroffene). The Ministry for the Economy and the Finance Ministry are responsible for a data breach to which the Austrian Economic Chambers were an accomplice.

Analysis of the "Stopp Corona" App: Improvements through expert report

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Experts from epicenter.works, noyb.eu and SBA Research evaluated the Austrian Red Cross' "Stopp Corona" app for data security and privacy. No critical security gaps were found, but some potential for improvement in data protection implementation was identified. 

Many recommended improvements have already been implemented by the Austrian Red Cross. Within the existing system, some of these have already been implemented, others require long-term changes - including by Apple and Google.

Digital Rights Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis

This is the start of a pandemic. The new challenges facing our society are enormous and we can only overcome them by working together. We all have to stick together and contribute towards shared solutions. At the moment, the most important thing we can do is follow the recommendations of the health authorities and the scientific community, especially when our own behaviour can help relieve the crisis. Nonetheless, we are convinced that we must make a contribution as a digital rights policy organisation.

Austria gets new legislation for Internet filters and they are for consumer protection

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Last week, epicenter.works submitted legal analysis on the draft legislation on Consumer Protection Cooperation. This bill introduces a wide range of powers for consumer protection organisations to block websites, seize domains and oblige hosters to delete information that it deems dangerous or illegal under consumer protection law. We see a number of problems with the the idea of internet filters, but the EU obliges Austria to implement these measures.

Austrian Government Hacking-Law Is Unconstitutional

Karola Riegler

The Austrian constitutional court decided on 11.12.2019 that the surveillance law that permits the use of spying software to read encrypted messages violates the fundamental right to respect for private life (article 8 ECHR), the fundamental right to data protection (§ 1 Austrian data protection law) and the constitutionally granted right that prohibits unreasonable searches (Art 9 Austrian bill of rights – Staatsgrundgesetz).

Updating Net Neutrality in the EU: 5G, Zero-Rating, Parental Control, DPI

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is currently in the process of overhauling their guidelines on the implementation of the Regulation (EU) 2015/2120, which forms the legal basis of the EU’s net neutrality rules. At its most recent plenary, BEREC produced new draft guidelines and opened a public consultation on this draft.