Impressions from the annual reception of the Austrian data protection authority

Mar 6, 2024

On 19 February 2024, the doors of the Ministry of Justice opened for the Data Protection Authority’s annual reception. This year’s event was particularly outstanding as it took place under the new appointment of Matthias Schmidl, who was appointed as the new head of the Austrian Data Protection Authority. The reception attracted an impressive number of guests, including the Federal Data Protection Commissioner in Germany Ulrich Kelber and the State Data Protection Commissioner of Bavaria Thomas Petri, along with many other high-ranking representatives of the public sector in Austria.

The first highlight of the event was the warm welcome given to those present by the new Deputy Head of the Data Protection Authority, Elisabeth Wagner. We were particularly pleased that Elisabeth Wagner recognised the privacy officers association and our CEO. Our association is valued and recognised by the authority as an important point of contact.

However, the short speech by Matthias Schmidl, the newly appointed head of the data protection authority, was particularly noteworthy. In his speech, Schmidl emphasised the importance of the authority’s increased involvement as a service point for those responsible for data protection compliance. This initiative aims to provide supportive resources and guidance to businesses and organisations faced with the complexities of data protection regulations in order to facilitate compliance.

In addition, Mr Schmidl announced that the DPA would be investing more in awareness raising. This move is aimed at raising awareness of data protection issues among the general public and educating citizens about their rights and options when dealing with their personal data.

These announcements mark an important turning point in the direction of the DPA and demonstrate its commitment to a proactive approach to data protection. By positioning itself more strongly as a service centre and focusing more on awareness-raising, the authority is striving to take a more active role in promoting and ensuring data protection in Germany.

Matthias Schmidl

Elisabeth Wagner

Bundesministerin Alma Zadić

In the concluding opening words of the annual reception of the data protection authority, the importance of data protection for the present and future was emphasised by Federal Minister Alma Zadić. The Minister emphasised the particular need for a robust data protection regime, especially in light of the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

Zadić made it clear that data protection is not only an ethical and legal obligation, but also an indispensable basis for citizens’ trust in new technologies such as artificial intelligence. In light of the ongoing integration of AI into various areas of daily life, she emphasised the urgency of strengthening data protection practices and ensuring that the privacy and rights of individuals remain protected.

These opening words by Federal Minister Alma Zadić highlight the increasing sensitivity and attention to data protection issues in the digital era, especially in relation to the development and implementation of Artificial Intelligence. It is a call to action to ensure that data protection principles are firmly anchored in the design and use of technologies to drive responsible and ethical development.

At the end of the event, there was a relaxed opportunity for lively dialogue and networking over sandwiches and drinks.

Our Executive Board team was excellently represented by Wolfgang Mader, Michael Mrak, Judith Leschanz and Karl Schwabl.

Recent news

Survey on the current situation of DPOs

Survey on the current situation of DPOs

The data protection associations of Liechtenstein, Austria and Switzerland have conducted a survey on the current situation of data protection officers among their members. The result was presented at the 4th Data Protection Seminar in Liechtenstein on November 30 and...

read more
Information event about Google Fonts in Austria

Information event about Google Fonts in Austria

Since July, there have been masses of warnings in Austria, especially from small website operators, because of the use of Google Fonts on websites. The website operators are being asked to pay 100 euros in damages and 90 euros in costs for the lawyer’s intervention.

read more