Austria: Data retention petition ignored by the Parliament

By EDRi · June 20, 2012

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Deutsch: [Österreich: Parlament ignoriert Bürgerinitiative zur Vorratsdatenspeicherung |]

The Austrian Working Group on Data Retention counters the lack of
responsiveness to citizens’ political participation with even more

Albeit gaining support of over 100 000 citizens, the Austrian citizens’
petition against data retention has been deferred to the Parliament
Justice Committee by the Petition Committee. The Austrian working group
on data retention ( has decided to change pace in the
campaign and asks its supporters to contact the representatives in the
justice committee, to ensure that their concerns are taken seriously.

In October 2011, the Austrian working group on data retention
( started a petition, called citizens’ initiative, asking
the Austrian government to oppose the EU data retention directive and to
evaluate all laws created with the aim to fight terrorism. In December,
the initiative was passed to the Parliament with more than 4400
supporters. Since mid-December the initiative could be signed online and
reached a total of 106 067 supporters until 30 May 2012.

The Petition Committee of the Austrian Parliament dealt with the issue
twice: in March and on 30 May 2012. Both times their schedule allowed
only less than 5 minutes to deal with the initiative and its consequences.

In March 2012, the Committee decided to ask three ministries (Justice,
Interior and Infrastructure) as well as the Chancellor’s office for
statements. All ministries’ statements clearly missed the point by
stating that Austria had to implement data retention because of the Data
Retention Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council. These
statements are quite surprising as one of the key demands of the
initiative is that the Austrian government should act within the
European Union to abolish the Data Retention Directive. The other main
demand – the evaluation of laws designed to fight terrorism – was
completely ignored.

In the second meeting, there was no reaction to the statements and the
initiative was passed on to the Justice Committee. reacted quickly: “After being astonished initially by the
brief treatment in the petition committee a new campaign was kicked off.
Since the citizens’ initiative can no longer be signed the new campaign
asks all the supporters to contact the representatives in the justice
committee to ensure proper treatment of the demands supported by more
than 100,000 citizens. To date it is unclear how and when the initiative
will be discussed in the committee. Nevertheless, the activists of are determined to maintain data retention as one of the hot
topics in Austrian politics.”

Austrian Parliament – Citizens’ initiative – Stop Data retention (only
in German)

AK Vorrat Austria campaign against data retention (only in German)

(Contribution by AK Vorrat – Austria)