28 Jul Austria Discards Law That Enables Police to Monitor Online Messaging Apps
Vienna, Austria — In a report last Thursday, a law drafting permission for authorities to conduct surveillance on Skype and WhatsApp messaging platforms was discarded by Austria’s Social Democrats (SPO).
According to SPO judicial affairs spokesperson Hannes Jarolim, the bill contradicted the rule of law, making its implementation unfeasible. It has the potential to give police too much legal ground to pry on people’s private affairs.
The bill was intended to crack down on fugitives who use online messaging apps instead standard phones. The justice ministry states that other countries in Europe have a similar bill, including Spain, France, and Poland.
In the past, Austria has convicted criminals related to terrorist groups following orders that helped authorities seize data from devices.
To date, surveillance can only be allowed in Sweden with a court order that probes into terrorist operations and other crimes that entail at least 5 years punishment in jail.