Technology changes our society. Existing systems of power and realities of life are reorganised. Humanity is in the century of digitalisation. Everything is digitally measured, stored, analysed and processed. The continuous change and optimisation of our society raises the question, to what extent we are still using technology and how far the technology dominates us.
The ongoing discourse between rulers and populations about security and freedom, democracy and citizens' rights has arrived in the digital space. Internet, social media, and digital information have a larger influence on our lives than ever before. For this reason, citizens' rights have to be maintained also concerning digital matters. Countries, enterprises, and organisations abuse the insufficient and unclear legal situation in digital matters to a certain extent which means that the citizens keep losing rights. These are rights that are taken for granted in a democracy but they find little to no space in the digital world.
epicenter.works tries to find ways forward based on human rights amidst all this change. We see ourselves as representatives of interests for basic and freedom rights and we stand up for a strong voice of the civil society and we advocate for a responsible and reasonable management of the opportunities and risks of technology.
epicenter.works is at the center of an ongoing movement where change happens and that carries its waves outward – outward to you, the citizens of Europe, the humans of the world. It depends on all of us to decide whether these changes lead to a society with fairer participation and a strengthening of democracy or instead will be used for suppression and manipulation by a central body. We know for certain that the critical decisions are made now, in our generation. Only if enough people join the debate there will be a chance to establish an open, participatory society in the digital age.
Data protection is privacy
epicenter.works has developed from the Arbeitskreis Vorratsdaten Österreich (AKVorrat), which has been active in Austria since 2010. In the year 2014, the AKVorrat managed to put an end to the General Data Retention after years of struggle. The complaint filed at the highest courts in Europe (ECJ) and Austria (VfGH) led to the abolition of this general mass surveillance without cause.
Since then, the organisation fights against the excessive surveillance and for the basic human right of privacy with all available means.
Internet and digital data are no physical, touchable objects and are often not seen as an actual threat. Without body and matter they are not taken seriously by many, like the fear of ghosts. Something invisible and untouchable has seemingly no influence on humans. But tracking, data, etc. are no ghosts. There are programs, statistics, and facts that only exist in digital form, but they are real and they have a tangible effect on our lives.
epicenter.works does not want to stir up fear of ghosts. We inform, we demonstrate violations of the rights of the citizens and specific dangers which are not visible at first glance.
Shaping internet politics
Internet politics happens where politics have an influence on the internet and vice versa. epicenter.works does not only advocate the preservation of a free and open internet, but also pleads to use technologies for the advancement of society as a whole. We use new instruments that allow people to participate and make their voice heard. We work close to the legislative process and with our campaigns and information materials we create awareness for a self-determined intercourse with digitalisation.
epicenter.works does not accept, that new security laws are introduced blindly and at the cost of our freedom. Freedom and security are essential principles of our lives. They are influencing each other and often they require contradicting things and compete against each other. This causes the political fallacy that maximal security is achievable by minimising freedom, self-determination, and privacy. The internet and the digital life have become such wide-ranging and important components of our daily lives that they are having a significant effect on politics. Thus it is very important that we take care of the area where politics and internet overlap and influence each other.
Do not take the current danger of a massive limitation of your freedom easily. Instead, take action for your privacy, for your freedom and for your rights!
epicenter.works is a civil rights organisation for the age of increasing digitalisation.
epicenter.works stands for politics that enforces basic and freedom rights in the digital age consistently and without limitation. The internet offers an enormous potential for open democracy, a fairer society, and a fair economy. We advocate for the provision of framework conditions that allow equal rights and a self-determined usage of the internet. Only in this way we can grow to our full potential. Surveillance, lack of protection of privacy, and discrimination with regard to the access to content and services are poison for this development. epicenter.works combats this with all their strength.
CIVIL SOCIETY WORKS
epicenter.works is the living proof that civil society works and that together we can shape future-oriented politics. Together we are stronger than all lobbyists, rulers, and multinational corporations. But we need to organise and to formulate our demands. We perceive this to be the main task of our organisation.
epicenter.works actively influences the development as well as the application of laws and regulations to shape the digital world. The members and supporters of the organisation provide juristical and technical expert knowledge in debates in Austria and Europe - always with the goal to preserve basic and freedom rights.
With our work we make sure that our voices - the voices of the citizens - are heard. epicenter.works develops campaigns and tools in order to facilitate and concentrate involvement of the civil society. To this end we build connections to organisations and initiatives with similar goals. Only together we can be effective.
You can join us in shaping our center by collaboration, by showing interest, by passing on the messages, by donations, even by observing silently and informing yourself. Pick your way of participating for your digital rights:
Stay informed: Newsletter, social media, and meetings
Donations: AKVorrat has worked pro bono for a long time. In 2014 we started to have an actual office with paid employees. epicenter.works is financed through donations, supporting memberships, sponsorings, and financial support. In order to maintain independence, there are maximum amounts that are accepted from companies. Credibility is more important than money. A broad and decentralised financial basis is the best condition for independence and successful work.
Participate: Send us a message on the participation website or visit us at one of our meetings.