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Austrian law-and-order cabinet to broaden public, online surveillance

Europe
21.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Vienna (dpa) - Austrian police will get broad powers to monitor roads, public transport and online communications, according to a package of security measures planned by the right-wing government.

On Wednesday, the coalition cabinet between conservatives and the far right agreed to the policies that are a key part of its law-and-order agenda.

According to the plan, which still has to pass parliament, authorities will get access to video surveillance of private companies that perform public services, such as transport or aviation.

The government also wants to expand the use of road surveillance systems that register cars and their number plates.

In addition, police are to gain access to messenger services such as WhatsApp and Skype when they are investigating serious crimes and terrorism cases, by installing eavesdropping software.

While the EU Court of Justice has annulled an EU directive on mandatory storage of telecommunications data, the Austrian government has come up with an alternative named "quick freeze."

Authorities would be able to order telecommunication firms to store user data for up to one year, in order to investigate certain types of crimes.

Interior Minister Herbert Kickl and Justice Minister Josef Moser told reporters that the measures would not amount to mass surveillance, but are necessary to respond to developments in terrorism and serious crime.

"The criminals are upgrading," Kickl said.

 

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