26 Feb 2018

Austrian government plans massive surveillance increase

The Autrian government wants to invest in a new and far-reaching surveillance network that would include video cameras, phone tracking, storing data, and monitoring Skype and Whatsapp. 

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Austrian government plans massive surveillance increase - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

The measures are part of the so-called "Security Package", which the ruling People's Party wanted to push through during their previous mandate. Back then, they failed to do so because their former coalition partners, the Social Democrats, staunchly opposed the idea.

But things have changed. Now that they are ruling with the far-right Freedom Party, they might have an easier time making their wish come true. 

At least Austrians will not be alone in their glass house: France and Germany already use official spyware and cameras to monitor their citizens, not to mention what goes on in Great Britain.

Details from the story:

  • Austria's ruling coalition plans a large-scale surveillance package with federal Trojans and data storage. 
  • The core of the monitoring package is the so-called "Federal Trojan". It will enable authorities to read encrypted content from WhatsApp and Skype.
  • License plate registration and cancellation of correspondence are also part of the surveillance package. So is the "Quick Freeze" method, which is intended to be a fundamental rights-compliant alternative to data retention.
  • The law is moderate in comparison to measures already in place in other European countries, but still many citizens oppose it.
  • The current Minister of the Interior, Herbert Kickl, decried the threat of an "East Germany 4.0".

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