Wolfie Christl is a technologist, researcher, writer, educator, and digital rights activist based in Vienna, Austria. Communication engineer by profession, he studied (but did not complete degrees in) computer science, sociology, arts and media studies. He has been interested in digital culture, open source, community media, and the socio-cultural impact of information technology since the late 1990's. Until 2006 he was a part of Public Netbase, a digital art platform, non-profit ISP, and somewhat of an early hackerspace in Vienna. His most recent work is focused on surveillance, privacy, and the personal data ecosystem in today's digital age.
In 2017, he published Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life, a comprehensive report on “how companies collect, combine, analyze, trade, and use personal data on billions”, and How Companies Use Personal Data Against People, a working paper on “automated disadvantage, personalized persuasion, and the societal ramifications of the commercial use of personal information”. His 2016 book Networks of Control is, according to the “International Association of Privacy Professionals”, a “slow-burning horror film”, and, according to Paul Nemitz, Director Fundamental Rights at the Directorate-General Justice of the European Commission, “a must-read for anyone who is interested in today's data-driven world”.
He has contributed to donottrack, an interactive web documentary series about digital tracking (The Atlantic, Forbes, Guardian), works as a trainer for employee privacy, and writes for newspapers such as the German FAZ. In 2013, he co-created Data Dealer, an award-winning online game on personal data and surveillance, which aims to raise awareness about privacy in a new and fun way. Data Dealer has received outstanding media coverage and substantial feedback from young people, teachers, media educators and the general public all over the world. It won numerous prizes like the e-virtouses Serious Games Award 2013 (France) and the Games for Change Award 2013 (USA).
Christl and his projects have been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, and many other media outlets around the world. He has presented his research in the European Parliament and has held many talks, lectures, and workshops at various conferences all over Europe and in the US, including at universities, Austrian and German Federal Ministries, TEDxVienna, re:publica (Berlin) and the Chaos Communication Congress (Hamburg).