Data Protecion Day 2023 - topics: elections and new data protection legislation in the Confederation and cantons
27.01.2023 - Elections and votes at all federal levels in Switzerland now take place in a digitalised world. Those involved in forming political opinion use the potential of digitalisation to specifically target their campaigns at voters. In this, voters’ rights to privacy and self-determination may come under considerable threat.
Anyone who processes data in the context of elections and votes must be aware that information on political and ideological views is classified as sensitive under both the current and the new Federal Data Protection Act. The latter will come into force on 1 September 2023, shortly before the upcoming general election of Parliament.
In updating their guide, the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) and the Conference of Swiss Data Protection Commissioners (privatim) want to emphasise the tremendous importance attached to the principle of transparency under data protection law in the context of elections and votes. Voters have a right to understand which digital processing methods and technologies are being used to target them.
New data protection legislation in the Confederation and cantons
- The FDPIC’s preparations for the new Data Protection Act (FADP), which comes into force on 1 September 2023, are going according to plan. There will be three ways of registering:
Federal bodies can register their records of processing activities electronically (https://datareg.edoeb.admin.ch/search).
- Data protection advisors can also be registered via an electronic platform.
- High-risk data security breaches must in future be reported to the FDPIC. A special portal has also been set up for this purpose. Instructions for data protection officers in both the public and private sectors is provided in the input mask.
Before the new FADP comes into force, the FDPIC will launch a newly designed and completely revised website. All information will then reflect the requirements of the new law. There will also be explanations available on new instruments, such as the data protection impact assessment.
The cantons are also updating their data protection legislation to reflect the new European data protection requirements. An overview of what has been achieved so far is published on the privatim website and periodically updated.