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Public Netbase’s International Campaign against the violation of data protection laws informs passengers at Vienna Airport

US-bound passengers are facing the risk of their personal data, including credit card number and religious affiliation, being transferred to the US authorities without their knowledge. Airlines have been forced to adopt these policies following a new EU directive that also applies to Austria, although this is a clear violation of existing data protection legislation.

In order to draw the attention of the public to this issue, an international campaign was organized on March 20th, 2003. „Public Netbase has taken part in the campaign by staging a protest at Vienna Airport.“, says Konrad Becker, the director of the net culture institution. „It is vital not to passively accept the increasing encroachment on fundamental rights. As cultural workers we have the duty to speak out and make it clear that the fight against terrorism must not serve as a justification for such a severe violation of privacy rights.”

The campaign was initiated by a European network of digital civil rights organizations. It intends to generate an awareness of the damage done to democracy under the guise of security. “Our book ‘Politics of the Infosphere’, produced in cooperation with the German Center for Civic Education, was an important publication in this regard. Today’s action at Vienna Airport Public Netbase has given a very real dimension to our theoretical criticism”, Becker concluded.

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