Esther Happacher

Full Professor of Public Law, University of Innsbruck - Institute of Italian Law.

In 2025, the obligation for Austrian public officials to maintain confidentiality about all facts of which they have obtained knowledge exclusively from their official activity, enshrined in Article 20 (3) of the Federal Constitutional Law (B-VG) and thus of constitutional status, will celebrate its centenary. Since 1987, flanked by an obligation to impart information pursuant to Article 20 (4) B-VG, it guarantees the protection of information acquired by the public administration when communicating with citizens. With a view to a transparent administration, several attempts have been made since the beginning of the millennium to replace official secrecy with freedom of information in order to achieve a “transparent state”. However, despite the high degree of digitalization of the Austrian public administration, the path to this goal remains still challenging.

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