Endangered privacy in Austria

ITA set up a research programme to investigate the onsequences of electronic media for privacy.


The project was a pre-study which gathered and analysed empirical data of the traces that consumers and civilians leave behind in their everyday lives. More and more sectors of private life are electronically supported but increasing convenience is accompanied by potential and actual surveillance. Most consumers are not even aware of the fact that they leave behind many digital traces in their everyday lives. By networking and data-mining procedures the fundamental right of privacy is increasingly endangered. One of the objectives of this project was to list the numerous databases in which personal data of an average Austrian may be stored through different phases of his/her life.

The analysis of the actual situation and of different threat scenarios indicated the particular importance of the use of telecommunications and of the Internet. The manifold methods of data collection by means of new information technologies and consumer´s possible countermeasures were accordingly discussed in detail.

The descriptive and analytical aspects of this study were supplemented by a chapter offering practical options and tips for citizens and consumers.

08/2000 - 10/2000