Find frequently asked questions (FAQs) in the list below. If you have any questions that are not answered below, you can always contact us, and we will try to get back to you as soon as possible. Currently this page is only available in English.
Who is behind noyb? How did this project start?
noyb is the brain child of Max Schrems, a lawyer and privacy activist. In addition to Max, the Board of Directors consists of Christof Tschohl, a lawyer and privacy expert and Petra Leupold, a lawyer and consumer rights expert.
Max Schrems has brought a number of successful legal cases in the area of privacy and data protection. His cases (e.g. against Facebook and the EU-US Safe Harbor Agreement) were widely reported, mainly because no one so far has brought cases in this area. Max has for a long time circulated the idea of a professional privacy enforcement NGO (similar to consumer rights organizations), that takes care of this issue on behalf of users that are usually unable to bring cases against large corporations. This idea was supported by many people and is hopefully becoming a reality through noyb.
Christof Tschohl successfully challenged data retention laws and is the Chairman of epicenter.works engaged in securing your online rights and freedoms.
Petra Leupold is the Managing Director of the VKI-Academy, the research academy of the Austrian Consumer Protection Association. She brings invaluable general consumer protection experience to the table and helps to bridge the gap between the tech and the consumer worlds.
The members of noyb include Members of the European Parliament, Experts from the European Commission, Law Professors and Technicians.
Do the Board Directors and the members of noyb work on a pro bono basis?
Yes. The Board of Directors of noyb is strictly a volunteer Board. This is mandated in our Articles of Association and means that all members of the Board work for noyb without any compensation. This is also true for all members of noyb. If our crowdfunding effort is successful, we hope to be able to hire the necessary number or lawyers and technical experts as employees. These employees cannot at the same time be Board Directors or members of noyb.
What will noyb focus on? …and why?
noyb will focus on commercial privacy issues on a European level, i.e. privacy violations of your digital rights as a private citizen by companies and corporations. After GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into force in May 2018, commercial privacy violations can be enforced on a European level, which allows much more effective procedures and strategic litigation. So far no organization has targeted this area.
noyb does not plan to be directly involved in issues of government surveillance, because they are often already being addressed by existing NGOs or local political groups. Additionally, national government surveillance groups are much better equipped to challenge violations because government surveillance can usually not be challenged on a European level, but in the relevant national courts of the government in question. At the same time, noyb will be aiming to cooperate with groups in this sector.
Wouldn’t it be the job of Data Protection Agencies (DPAs) to enforce privacy rights?
Under the law the Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) should enforce our rights in each EU member state. However, in practice, there are legal, political and factual reasons (e.g. limited resources) that limit the desire and ability of DPAs to do their job.
noyb will neither try to replace nor bypass DPAs, but function as a non-government organization that brings important issues to the attention of DPAs, enforces the law in civil court or directly engages with companies.
The upcoming new data protection regulation (“GDPR”) recognizes that NGOs can be an important watchdog for human rights and foresees special rights under Article 80 of the law. noyb wants to bring Article 80 to life on a European level.
How can I support noyb?
We are mainly looking for long-term supporting members, which allow us to build a stable financial basis for an ongoing operation.
However, we are also looking for donations in kind (e.g. software products, free legal services, office space and alike) and are also happy about one time donations. Finally, we are also looking for volunteers that may be able to help. Check out the “Support” page for more information about how you can support us.
What is the legal status of noyb?
noyb is an Austrian registered non-profit (“Verein”). Our registration number is 1354838270 and can be checked at http://zvr.bmi.gv.at/.
Are noyb’s articles of association (“Statuten”) available online?
Sure. You can download them here (in German). We are working on a translation to English.
What does "noyb" stand for?
We use “noyb” as a brand name. The name was suggested by a twitter user, and is the abbreviation of “none of your business”, which fits quite well with the goals of “noyb”, because your privacy is none of a company´s business.
Supporting Membership & Crowdfunding
In which languages can I contact noyb?
We can currently only guarantee email support in English and German. We are hoping to provide more languages as soon as noyb gets operational.
Can I choose the amount I want to support noyb with?
Yes – we are grateful for any amount you want to support us with. We know that everyone has different priorities and budgets. Our experience has shown that supporters in the privacy area range from small donations to large sums.
What is a “supporting member”?
A supporting member is a legal member of the non-profit noyb under Austrian law. Supporting members have no voting rights within noyb, but support the work of noyb through donations. Supporting members have the right to use certain membership benefits, such as free consultation in privacy violation cases, which we will provide. A supporting member can cancel their membership at any time and we will not charge you again in the future. However, already paid annual donations are non-refundable.
What are the “goodies” noyb plans?
We want to give back certain benefits to our supporting members. Some can be internal (e.g. a free open source cloud service, where members can store their data) and others can be provided by partners (e.g. coupons for services our members may want to use). Obviously we won’t be able to guarantee them and these goodies may change over time, but we see this as a form of saying “thank you” to our supporting members.
What are “gold” and “silver” members?
To reward supporting members that give a certain amount per year, we differentiate between basic, silver and gold members. Depending on the amount you want to donate to noyb, we will offer you a small thank you gift and certain benefits.
Can I cancel my membership any time?
Yes. Supporting members can cancel their membership at any time. This will be effective immediately. Please note that already paid membership payments cannot be refunded.
What are the donations used for?
According to our concept, the largest part of our finances will be used to hire the necessary lawyers and tech experts and to fund court cases. We plan to have minimal overhead and to cooperate with other organizations as far as possible in order to make the most of our budget.
What are the financial aims of the noyb campaign?
We have two financial thresholds: The minimum amount we need to reach so that we can realistically start a small version of noyb is € 250,000 per year. Our goal, however, is to reach € 500,000 per year, which would allow us to hire all the necessary staff and fund relevant cases.
What if these financial goals cannot be reached?
When you currently support us, you only give us a pledge. If we cannot reach our minimum goal, noyb will not collect your donation. The project will then simply be called off. Once we pass the minimum goal of € 250,000, we will collect the pledges from you and start noyb.
Is the support for noyb tax deductible?
This depends on the tax code the supporting member is subject to. For example: In Austria membership fees and donations to noyb are not tax deductible, but a German donor may be able to deduct a donation to noyb in Austria under German tax law. Please review the tax code you are subject to.
As we received many requests from German supporters on this matter: We are planning to apply with the German authorities to become tax deductible in Germany as soon as we become operational. However, this may take a while and we cannot guarantee that noyb will be accepted, even if other privacy NGOs within Germany were accepted. If you support noyb and you are based in Germany, we will inform you about any progress on this matter via email. You can become a supporter now and should be able to deduct your support as soon as we are accepted.
Can I withdraw from my supporting membership?
Yes. Within 14 days you can let us know that you don’t want to be a member anymore.
After 14 days you can still cancel your membership at any time, but already paid membership fees are not refundable.
Is a donation to noyb tax deductible?
This depends on the tax code the donor is subject to. For example: In Austria donations to noyb are not tax deductible, but a German donor may be able to deduct a donation to noyb in Austria under German tax law. Please review the tax code you are subject to.