Blog | Philipp Haidenbauer

WebDev, DevOp and Paramedic

Austria is on a bad way (for technology)

Posted at — Jun 27, 2019

As I have written before, I am normally not expressing my political position, nor the parties I vote for or even follow. But I am a little bit depressed on the way Austria’s Government and EU’s Government is moving.

A few weeks ago the EU Parliament passed a rule which makes Content Platforms (Youtube and also 200wad) legally responsible for the content that is uploaded. Huge protests were held in Germany and also in Austria, an online petition was signed by more than five million people. Hundreds of companies signed an open letter.

The law was passed, and to meet the law, the Content Platforms have to implement so-called “Upload Filters”, the Government told the Companies don’t need them to properly filter the uploads, but several experts said they have to be implemented.

Activists see this as a way to censor the internet. I won’t go into details on that topic more, but it is something to think about.

Looking further back there was the GDPR novel. Again, experts said it isn’t backed enough and there are way more things to consider. I am working as a freelance developer myself and also host the projects of my customers on my server. I’ve got said agreements with my clients and hope they will suffice if something GDPR relevant happens. I can’t afford a large lawyer company to look over my servers and set up contracts for every customer. I’m just a small developer trying to make some extra money.

And then, there is the most recent action the Austrian Government is preparing, remodeling the taxi law. Basically, they want to bring taxis and rental cars (with driver: Uber, limousine service, …) to the same level.

As far as I understand it, every driver will need a taxi license and a taximeter, and the payment levels are equalized.

I’m regularly in Vienna and normally only drive with Uber. Let me tell you why. The Taxis in Vienna nowadays are really gross, sometimes the whole cab smells of smoke or alcohol, the drivers are unfriendly and the prices are very high.

Only for the cab to arrive you already pay about five euros. Every stop at a traffic light lets the taximeter run. And the worst reason, you don’t know if they take the shortest route or if they drive around the church (a common metaphor for driving an indirect route).

With Uber or MyTaxi or every other service out there, I know beforehand what I will pay, and I like that. I know the driver will bring me to my destination as best as possible and they are open for a friendly talk.

All of this into one pot makes me think that Austria and the EU are on a downward spiral in the technology sector. Now, with Trump ranting around with the Chinese and even the Tech-Companies in America it would be the best time for the European Union to bring in these Companies.

We don’t need another line of laws which make the internet more and more curtailed, we need to open up for big tech companies. The largest physic and chemical inventions were made in the EU, why can’t we have the biggest tech innovations?