Austria starts with 6 months of data retention on the 1st of April 2012!
No, there’s no joke inside, the data retention (also known as “Vorratsdatenspeicherung”
or – in Newspeak – “Mindestdatenspeicherung”) starts on the 1st of April 2012.
Although national media covers the topic – now that there are just a few days left –
they refused to cover the topic for the last few months to keep the people calm.
Several independent groups tried to inform our citizens but the vast majority is
still unsure about the effect of data retention and that austrian providers have
to start collecting data in a few days.
You may be disappointed, shocked or frustrated, you may feel indifferent
about the whole topic or just resign …
… or you can respond with proper action!
Links, Tools and Information to protect your privacy after the break…
For those of you that do not want to give up their privacy we put together a few
links and tips that should help you to protect your privacy. Some of them do not
cover the privacy issues that come with data retention in general, but they also
improve your daily privacy and should be used anyway.
Some of the tools may not be applicable for your (special) situation or
infrastructure and individual needs, but every single tool will help to raise the
general “noise” of encryption. Each of you – using any privacy or anonymity
supporting tools – makes a difference.
:: Use PGP
Transport encryption for eMails (SMTPs, POP3s, IMAPs, …) should be
used as a matter of course nowadays but does not provide real protection
to the content: not all mail exchangers (read: mail servers) provide those
techniques or use them by default and your message will be stored unencrypted
on the hard disks of your email provider.
A great, matured, robust and very widely spread solution that
is based on private-/public key infrastructure is “Pretty Good Privacy” (PGP).
Plugin for Thunderbird
Plugin for Apple Mail
GPGTools / GPGMail
Plugin for Microsoft Outlook 2003 and 2007
GPG 4 Win
Windows Mail / Windows Live Mail users are currently not covered by
in our list because we could not find a stable and free / open source solution
yet. You may provide us with tips and links for Windows users in the comments.
A great list of tools and software solutions to integrate and use PGP is found here:
:: Use OTR
It doesn’t matter if you use Jabber (great!), ICQ, AIM, A!, MSN or – worst case – even Skype:
There is no real built end-2-end encryption – the latter does feature one based on public key
infrastructure but the private keys are generated by the servers … so it’s worthless for the
Off-The-Record (OTR) plugins are designed to bring real end-2-end encryption to your
messengers and are really easy to integrate into most Multi-IM clients like Adium, Pidgin,
Miranda and many more. Some Multi-IM clients feature built-in OTR support which
is great. You just have to use it and there is no real effort to do this… you just have to turn it on.
For more information on OTR, just have a look at:
:: Use Darknets like I2P and Tor (Hidden Services) as often as possible
You don’t have to contribute bandwidth and may just use it without fearing any legal
consequences it you want to: modern anonymization networks are extremly
configurable and provide great resistance against censorship
and enhance your privacy and anonymity.
Of course, your mileage may vary based on your behaviour.
The two most popular anonymizers / darknets are:
To build Layer-3 transparent Tunnels between clients on Tor or I2P
we recommend onioncat, which is a great middleware for seamless and
secure communication over both networks.
It relies on IPv6 and does not interfere with you current IPv4 or IPv6
infrastructure. We are sure it’s worth a shot to enhance your communication habits:
Whatever you choose to do:
Don’t resign, don’t just accept your situation,
stand up for your rights and for your privacy!