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NGO demands disclosure of A1 Telekom Austria Group’s entanglements in Belarus

The civil rights NGO protested in front of the A1 Telekom Austria Group’s building yesterday to raise awareness of the involvement of the partially state-owned company in the Internet shutdowns in Belarus that unfolded around the controversial election of the long-term dictator Lukaschenka. The protest was accompanied by attacks by the company against the non-profit NGO.

Five reasons to claim victory on the EU Digital COVID Certificate

Today, the European Parliament votes on the interinstitutional compromise text on the regulation(s) on the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC, also known as the Digital Green Certificate and the European Green Pass). The proposed legislation regulates the “framework for the issuance, verification and acceptance of interoperable certificates on vaccination, testing and recovery” with aim of facilitating free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data retention, location data, cookie banners: the ePrivacy Regulation is coming

Even though its effects are very visible, the ePrivacy Directive is hardly known to the wider public. Cookie consent dialogues, familiar to every web user, are often associated with GDPR and widely complained about since 2018. However, they are really a consequence of the ePrivacy Directive's "cookie clause", Article 5(3), which was added to the Directive already in 2009.

BVT: a lot of power, no trust and too little control

Despite being one of Austria's most powerful institutions, the Federal Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism (abbreviated BVT in German) does not enjoy a good reputation. Numerous past incidents have branded the BVT and damaged its international standing. Among foreign intelligence services, Austria is considered a "security gap." An audit report by the "Club de Berne", which includes directors of all domestic intelligence services of the EU member states, Norway and Switzerland, identifies severe deficiencies.

Telecom reform in Austria: consumers must benefit from Router Freedom

Austria is reforming its telecommunications law to incorporate the new European directives on electronic communications. The Austrian government has now an unique opportunity to leverage router freedom at the legislative level to protect consumers and the market.

EU Parliament adopts the Covid Pass: risks for data protection and new forms of discrimination

On April 28, 2021, the European Parliament adopted its position on the Covid Pass (the "Digital Green Certificate" or "Green Passport"). The legislative proposal has been designed to make travel within the EU possible again. The proposal aims to provide EU countries with a common framework which would allow certificates detailing test results, recovered Covid infections or vaccinations to be issued and verified.

FLoC: Google's new means of following you across the web

If you browse the web without an ad blocker, you will have noticed that the ads you see tend to follow you around. Have you been looking around for a new pair of shoes? Be prepared to see more ads for shoes on completely unrelated websites. This advertising technique is called "behavioural retargeting" and is built on recording your web history in a central place, then using that information to select ads that advertisers expect you are more likely to react to.

A long way to a transparent state

The review period for the Freedom of Information Act ended on 19 April 2021. Austria is the only country in the EU where official secrecy is still regulated at constitutional level. This has made it difficult for citizens to obtain information about government action or the use of tax revenue. The Turquoise-Green government recently presented a draft law under which all citizens shall have access to information of general interest. Official secrecy will be cut from the constitution.