Austria’s ministry of the interior discovers reporting data as a new business field

Now, however, the safety authority must already test against two of its own "business partner" investigate those who are suspected of having illegally requested personal data

When the state coffers are empty, civil servants sometimes think about new sources of income. In the austrian ministry of the interior, for the purpose of filling the coffers, they recently chose the "central registration office" (zmr) from. Much to the chagrin of data protection activists, the security authority ied a "better marketing" of this personal data decided.

Retroactive to 1. 1. In 2003, the austrian ministry of the interior (bmi) recently ied a decree facilitating the marketing of data from the central civil register (zmr). Insurance companies, banks, lawyers, debt collectors, detectives and others "business partner" could then acquire rights to query the crm for a fee. Until now, critics of the regulation argue, only a small group of people was allowed to query the data, and only for the enforcement of claims.

The security authorities were not allowed to dwell on such concerns for long. Ministry documents, which the consumer protection spokesman of the social democrats, johann maier, brought to the public, rather testify to the pronounced "business sense" of officials. Quote from the bmi paper: "the goal is to increase paid queries over the course of the project period (through 2005 note) through service improvements and accompanying marketing strategies." in a dispatch, maier adds:

"Since march 2002, there have been approx. 253.950 chargeable queries, which by 2005 had risen to 1.300.000 (per query euro 1 or euro 3) should be increased. Or printed in revenues: in 2002 there were 210.900 queries at 3 euros each. This resulted in a sum of 632.700 euros. Due to marketing decreases for business partners it should be in the year 2005, 1.100.000 queries for which a fee has to be paid, generating revenues in the amount of 3.300.000 euros bring."

The fact that burger data is to be degraded so offensively to a registered commodity naturally also pisses off the austrian data protectionists. Especially because the data protection council was not even consulted about this new regulation. Hans zeger of arge daten warns of a hollowing out of hidden basic rights:

"Within the framework of the registration law, a central personal identification number was introduced to facilitate the identification of citizens and the linking of this data. Beyond that, however, a fundamental right ‘light’ was created with the registration law. The most important parts, who is allowed to use data in what form and how, are not regulated in the law but outsourced to regulations. This gives the minister of the interior, bypassing the national council, the widest possible latitude in interpreting citizens’ rights. This freedom will be used excessively by the new regulation. A register for clearly defined tasks becomes a data self-service shop."

Zeger, himself a member of the data protection council, recently presented two cases in this body of companies that offer queries from the zmr for a fee, but obviously do not take it very seriously with compliance with existing laws. According to zeger, the mere name of the consultancy advokat was apparently enough for a report evidence search. In addition, the data protection officer took exception to the automated requirement for the obligatory reasoning. So gives advocate "enforcement of claims" for clients before. Teased comment by zeger: "a provocative nona statement. Any pimp or small-time crook will use the same wording to justify his desire for his victims’ data." in the case of jusline, things got even simpler. "Literally anyone can run a query (i.E. Jusline and advocate)", so zeger.

After a meeting of the data protection council in march in which these two suspicious cases were discussed, a representative of the ministry of the interior had to admit to media representatives that two of bmi’s business partners were being investigated- "business partners" (i.E. Jusline and advocat) is investigated on suspicion of illegal queries.

Commercial companies are not the only ones, by the way "black sheep", who tamper with reporting data in austria. The arge daten also reported traps in which complete registration data of an entire municipality were passed on. Zeger in addition: "the bird may have been shot by the mayor of dorfgastein. He justifies the data transfer to the private bergbahnen ag with the possibility of easier, unbureaucratic iance of reduced-price tickets for locals."

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