Tech

Identification required in forums and vein scanners in the outdoor pool – Big Brother in Austria

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The seaside resort Weiden has "a well-kept beach with a large lawn, shady trees" – and Handvenenscanner. He is to scare those evil contemporaries who want to gain access without buying tickets, but at the same time are too lazy to hop over the fence or wading through the shallow waters of Lake Neusiedl to the lawn. "Building high-security technology in an open-air pool is equivalent to shooting proverbs with guns," says the jury of the Austrian Big Brother Awards in 2019.

So she has considered the municipal seaside resort of Weiden am See with the negative price in the category "authorities and administration". For 20 years, the Big Brother Awards Austria have been awarded to "those authorities, individuals and organizations that contribute to our future as glassy people." The annual gala always rises on the eve of the Austrian national holiday, ie on 25 October. The venue was once again the Rabenhoftheater in Vienna.

The market municipality claims to save the biometric data "until further notice". Incidentally, the acquisition costs of the hand vein scanners have amounted to more than 50,000 euros. An annual ticket for the bath costs 50 euros, a half-day ticket costs three euros.

Before it broke apart on the Ibiza scandal, Austria's right-wing conservative government under Chancellor Sebastian Kurz wanted to introduce an identity card for all Austrians who comment on news sites or comment on social networks. They should prove the mandatory registration name and address, what spin doctors wanted to make the people taste as "Digital Vermummungsverbot".


Big Brother Award from concrete

This is what an Austrian Big Brother Award looks like. Rarely, award winners come to pick him up.
(Photo: Daniel AJ Sokolov)

The databases of the Telecom network operators should help in the identification. Because of the recently introduced SIM card registration requirement, there are no more anonymous telephone connections. The self-defeating government Kurz still comes to late "honors" – in the form of the Austrian Big Brother Award 2019 in the category "Politics".

The post office, again

For many years now, the Austrian Post AG has been using data. For example, it offers advertisers information about three million Austrians. For 2.2 million of them, she even calculated and sold the alleged "affinity" with political parties. After epicenter.works data protectors uncovered these deals earlier this year, Swiss Post stopped calculating alleged party affinity. A punishment of the data protection authority does not want to accept the post office however. It is against it.

Back in 2001, the Swiss Post had been awarded a Big Brother Award for selling records to the data retailer Schober. The following year, even this year's award for the "life-long nuisance" went to the post office. For example, because the company seeks to obtain the consent of its customers to the address trade by means of fine print, or by relying on EU guidelines for combating "money laundering and terrorist financing", wishes to collect the place of birth and date of COD recipients.

The retailer REWE operates a loyalty program in Austria called Jö Bonusclub, which goes beyond the boundaries of the Group. A total of a dozen companies, from supermarkets to gas stations to furniture stores is there and is happy about the many customer data.

This data concentration is immense, not only for consumer advocates but also for the Big Brother jury: "Someone has to pay for advertising and managing the card, as it certainly will not be spent at the expense of REWE's profit, leaving only the customers and suppliers who have to bear the additional costs. " Reason enough, the Jö bonus club the Big Brother Award for "communication and marketing".