To Whom It May Concern – English version

Hier geht es zur deutschen Version.

June 30th, 2014 marks a turning point for Austria. Not only was the Vorratsdatenspeicherung (data retention) terminated preliminarily for good (no, really), the operation of TOR exit nodes supposedly was also declared a criminal offense by a regional criminal court. The accused was operating a TOR exit node which was being used fraudulently by a third party to transmit content of an illegal nature.

According to rumors reports the accused, the judgement was based on §12 of the Austrian penal code:
“Nicht nur der unmittelbare Täter begeht die strafbare Handlung, sondern auch jeder, der einen anderen dazu bestimmt, sie auszuführen, oder der sonst zu ihrer Ausführung beiträgt.”
(translation: Not only the immediate perpetator commits a criminal action, but also anyone who appoints someone to carry it out, or anyone who otherwise contributes to the completion of said criminal action.)

A possible interpretation would be, that The operator of an exit node is guilty of complicity, because he enabled others to transmit content of an illegal nature through the service.

This is a potential reversal in Austrian legal practice, where up to now the opinion was held that a service provider is not responsible for the transmitted content (according to the austrian E-Commerce-Law)

Until we have a binding judgement, it is a sensible precaution to turn off hosted services where data from third parties is transmitted (like Jabber, IRC, VPN, FTP, TOR exit nodes, TOR RELAYS!! …); at least temporarily. Whether this judgement only applies to natural persons or legal persons as well cannot be said at this time, as the judgement is not yet available in writing.

Futhermore it is still unclear, if the judgement will become binding and we hope fervently for a change of it on appeal.

- The regional criminal court refered to is the Landesgericht für Strafsachen in Graz.
- An independent source The accused has verified this judgement to be based on §12 StGB (penal code).