The rise of social media in recent years has had a significant impact on people's private lives and an increasing number of companies are now using social media for business purposes. However, the opportunities and advantages offered by social media platforms also represent its greatest challenges. Companies often forget that such services do not exist in a legal vacuum – the normal legal framework is still applicable.
The latest Supreme Court decision regarding the protection of an individual's image has provoked harsh criticism and raised concerns for photographers and media companies alike. The decision controversially included a wholesale ban on the taking of pictures, rather than the mere publication of infringing images. As a result, questions have arisen as to whether a change in jurisdiction is imminent.
An amendment to the Media Act was recently introduced that extended the duties of disclosure for website and newsletter providers. The extended duties will apply to all media belonging to owners based in Austria. The amendment aims to ensure "complete transparency", but it is more likely to have the opposite effect, with information overload causing issues for affected media owners.
The Supreme Court recently dealt with the conflicting interests of a media enterprise claiming freedom of expression and the IP rights of a minor portrayed in a photograph which was published out of context without his prior permission. The court once again took the opportunity to clarify its view on the permissibility of parody and social satire.
In a recent decision the Supreme Court considered whether an ex-employee who processed his former employer's data had violated the Data Protection Act 2000. The decision is astonishing, given that data of a commercial nature (eg, concerning business relations and confidentiality) is protected under domestic law as much as that concerning an individual's private and family life.
As the likely successor of bar codes for the labelling of goods, radio frequency identity chips and tags are set to become widespread. However, critics concerned about data protection issues strongly oppose the introduction of the chips, as information about the bearer can be extracted wirelessly without his or her knowledge.