The initially highly successful “Lernsieg” app by young entrepreneur Benjamin Hadrigan (20) was later sued by teachers for violating data protection. Its continued existence was uncertain. Most recently, however, the Supreme Court, as the highest instance, had the last word and allowed the assessment of local teachers. Hadrigan can breathe a sigh of relief, and after the end of the semester break, Austria’s students can again publicly rate their teaching staff in the categories of teaching, fairness, respect, motivation, patience, preparation, assertiveness and punctuality.
First, teachers close to the union complained about the app. The data protection authority, the Federal Administrative Court and the first civil instance did not see any problems in this. That only changed when the higher regional court in Vienna had a different opinion because of the possibility of manipulation. Finally, people who are not even students of the teachers being evaluated could also give ratings. So there is the “danger of unobjective mood-mongering”.
The Supreme Court (OGH) has now revised this judgment again, as the “Krone” reports. The complaining teachers had insisted on their basic rights to data protection, anonymity, privacy, honor and good reputation, which would be limited by the abuse. In contrast, highest judges ruled that the restriction of freedom of expression, for example if such an app may not be operated at all, weighs more heavily. Moreover, abuse can only be avoided by registering the students by name, which restricts their freedom of expression. In addition, there is less protection from public statements in the practice of the profession than in the private sphere.