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2. Covid-19 Act: Telecommunications Act 2003: Warning in case of crisis by SMS can be enforced

Crises require rapid intervention by the authorities, but also rapid and barrier-free information for the persons affected.

Now that modern communication runs via mobile phone, it is obvious that authorities also warn the population by SMS (messages on mobile phones) "of impending or spreading major emergencies and disasters" and call on them to behave appropriately. Although this was already possible in the past, it required the voluntary participation of mobile operators.

The amendment creates the legal basis - for the time being only for a transitional period until 31 December 2020 - to be able to order and thus enforce public warnings / requests by SMS.

The authorities will continue to rely on voluntary action and informally request mobile operators to pass on official warnings to their customers in the event of a crisis. However, if the mobile operator fails to act, the authorities may issue an official decision, the non-observance of which - due to the special public interest in the warning - is threatened with an administrative fine of up to EUR 37,000.

Public warnings by SMS shall be easily received by end-users and shall be free of charge for them, provided that this is economically and technically reasonable and in accordance with relevant data protection legislation.

 

Please note: This newsletter merely provides general information and does not constitute legal advice of any kind from Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH. The newsletter cannot replace individual legal consultation. Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH assumes no liability whatsoever for the content and correctness of the newsletter.



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