21th annual report 2013/2014

Below, you find a selection of articles taken from the FDIPC's 21th annual report. If you are interested in the complete version of the reports, please refer to the corresponding pages in German or French.

Preface

Current situation and outlook

Last year I concluded the preface saying that "big data" has become an increasingly topical subject. As a result of technological developments, vast storage capacity, the possibility of transferring large amounts of data rapidly over large distances, as well as the ability to carry out a precise analysis of these sources, data will become a new raw material (or new capital) in the future data-driven society. This change represents a massive threat to our privacy.  Continue...

The commercial application of personal tracking systems

Increasingly, personal tracking systems are being used in order to analyse customer data and thus to optimise retail space, product ranges and service offerings. During the year we therefore decided to take a closer look at these systems and noted that there were some potential risks involved affecting privacy rights.  Continue...

The right to be forgotten in matters relating to the Commercial Register

The draft bill on the modernisation of the Commercial Register does not contain any provision that enshrines the “right to be forgotten”. The Swiss Federal Commercial Registry Office concluded from the results of the pre-parliamentary consultation process that no special rules were needed for publishing data on the Internet. This is a regrettable decision.   Continue...

Transfer of employee data by banks – latest developments

After issuing a series of recommendations to five banks in 2012, and within the context of the discussions aimed at reaching a global settlement to the tax dispute, we published an explanatory leaflet that sets out the procedures to be followed by banks that wish to transfer personal data. We also provided advice to the employees concerned and informed them of their rights.   Continue...

Energy Strategy 2050 and smart metering

We were able to express our views on the Energy Strategy 2050 during the pre-parliamentary consultation procedure. We believe that the legal basis for the processing of personal data is too imprecise and have asked for changes to be made. We are also supporting and advising the Smart Grid Road Map Switzerland working group.  Continue...

Release of video images to the law enforcement authorities

The operator of a CCTV surveillance system may release digital images if so required by a court order. In the absence of a court order, the operator shall be required to carefully weigh up the circumstances before releasing the images. He may be held responsible for having acted unlawfully.  Continue...

Video recordings for research purposes

When participants involved in a research project are filmed, it is relatively easy to protect their right to privacy. However, when third parties who are not directly involved in the project are filmed, a number of measures must be taken in order to protect their privacy.  Continue...

Drones and data protection

A meeting was held with the Federal Office for Civil Aviation to discuss the subject of drones and video surveillance. We also attended a hearing of the Swiss Parliament’s Committee for Transportation and Telecommunications. We believe that there is need for a more detailed examination of data protection with regard to the use of drones and that specific rules or an authorization system should be introduced.  Continue...

Draft Intelligence Agencies Act

The draft Intelligence Agencies Act that has been submitted to Parliament contains a number of problematic aspects from a data protection perspective: the use of aircraft or satellites that have not been specifically authorized; the possibility of penetrating computer systems or networks; and the non-application of the Freedom of Information Acts to documents relating to intelligence gathering within the meaning of the IAA.  Continue...

Internet file-sharing networks and copyright issues – current state of play

The ruling by the Supreme Court on the Logistep case created a degree of uncertainty regarding the tracking down of cases of copyright infringement on the Internet. As a result, a working group, set up at the request of Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, was asked to consider how to adapt copyright law to current technological developments. Their final report has been available since the beginning of December 2013.  Continue...

Disclosure of data to foreign tax authorities

A number of bills were presented to Parliament on the subject of the disclosure of data to foreign tax authorities. We have made our position clear on the legislative work carried out on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Tax Administrative Assistance Act.  Continue...

Freedom of information principle

According to the statistics that have been provided to us, the federal authorities received some 469 request for access to information in 2013. Full access was granted in 218 cases, partial access in 103 cases, and a further 122 requests were rejected. 18 requests were withdrawn, whereby the reason for the withdrawal in probably half the cases was the fee charged for this service by the authorities. At the end of the period under review, eight cases were still pending.  Continue... 

Further information

Documents

Order

The complete annual report can be ordered in German and French from the BBL, Vertrieb Publikationen, 3003 Bern
Art. Nr. 410.021

https://www.edoeb.admin.ch/content/edoeb/en/home/documentation/annual-reports/21th-annual-report-2013-2014.html