Austria planning an internet kill-switch

Austria is working on creating a big red button which will turn off both the internet and mobile networks. The idea is to keep the country safe should there be some sort of cyberwar within the borders of the EU, keeping Austria safe from nasty viruses and acts of sabotage.

The Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria admitted to it is working on the plans, while a bloke from private sector denied anyone had such a thing in mind, ever.

Apparently there is a legal basis, namely §89 of the Austrian Telecommunications Act, which states the Führer for Traffic, Innovation and Technology can shut down telecommunications to uphold law and order and the peace, similar to the West’s friendly and caring Egyptian ally Hosni Mubarak actions a few days ago. reports §89 has never, ever been used in Austria.

A decision to shut down Austria, however, would be made by the EU – not on a national level. It would also have to be considered which parts of the internet should be shut off, and if other networks can be maintained. At the same time, Austria is also working on alternative communication measures, such as data over DVB-T.  

Whatever the case, Roland Ledinger, head of ICT strategy / GovCert in the Federal Chancellery, claims the kill switch would be a last resort and one of the central measures in warding off cyber attacks. GovCert is part of the Chancellery and is supposed to help keep Austria safe and secure cyber-wise.