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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.

We are hiring: Project manager for copyright campaigns in Europe defends civil liberties in the digital age, and is committed to a free and open internet. Our main goal is to uphold the fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of speech in the internet. All of our work is closely tied to the legislative process in the European Union and several member states. In our work, we combine detailed policy analysis with public campaigning and strategic litigation, which is consequently informed by the details of every dossier we work on, but also aims to inform and engage the general public in the political debate.


Our PNR complaint to the Federal Administrative Court


A few weeks ago we have filed a complaint with the Austrian data protection authority about the Passenger Name Record. Our aim is to overturn the directive, in other words to virtually abolish it. Four weeks ago the data protection authority has rejected our complaint, which we think is good news, because that is the only way we can go to court. We now had four weeks to draft and file a complaint for the Federal Administrative Court.

Tags: An attempt at a fundamental rights based proposal

To foster the debate about one of the most complicated digital rights issues of our time, releases today its first draft for a proposal on platform regulation. What regulation is needed for the digital world we live in and how can we strengthen the values that we need to safeguard in today's digital information society?

Good news: Complaint against Passenger Name Record Collection rejected!


Three weeks ago we officially lodged a complaint with the Austrian data protection authority against the Passenger Name Record directive - we reported on it earlier this year. After only three weeks, we have now received the response from the data protection authority: The complaint was rejected. That sounds negative at first, but in reality it is good news. Now we can and must file the complaint with the Federal Administrative Court within four weeks. 


What a computer can actually do…

CC-BY-SA 4.0 Mollyrose89 edited

Our future with technology is a polarizing topic. While some urge that advancements pose grave threats to personal privacy and other fundamental rights, others believe whole-heartedly in the promise of new technologies to eradicate long-standing inequalities at a pace that humans have been unable – or unwilling – to go. This second vision, in which computers and algorithms solve social problems and have the power to fix the world, subscribes to a view of technological utopianism — the idea that, through reliance on new technologies, the world will become truly better for everyone.

Complaint filed against collection of airline passenger data

CC-BY-SA 4.0 Արման Բարսեղյան, edited

Together with our German partners from Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte, we are currently fighting to stop the collection of airline passenger data in Europe. To this end we just filed seven complaints in Austria with the Data Protection Authority regarding the practice of processing passenger data by a designated unit in the Interior Ministry. Our aim is the legal evaluation of the underlying PNR law, which is based on the EU PNR Directive, in order to determine whether it is in line with the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.


E.U. vs. U.S.A.: What Can Different Attitudes Towards Platform Regulation Teach Us?


The responsibility of communications platforms like Google, Twitter, and Facebook for their users’ online activities is a key factor affecting innovation and free speech in the 21st century. Still, the degree of liability for intermediaries – and the extent of online speech regulation – varies greatly, lacking a unified approach to regulation. Heightening the monitoring responsibilities of intermediaries is, in some ways, positive because intermediaries can work to support a healthy speech environment online.