American writer and poet Gertrude Stein said that “ in times of peace it is only Switzerland, but in times of war it is the only country in which everyone trusts “.
In the variegated and chaotic world of Big Data, never has a sentence been truer! Switzerland today (and with good reason) is considered a safe haven for world’s data: it is physically inside the European Union and completely outside it and capable, on a structural and regulatory level, of being a country that makes a difference. Furthermore, Switzerland is considered by the EU as an adequate country for data transfer. The adequacy decision comes directly from the EU Commission, which means that nothing else is needed to proceed with the transfer.
The Federal Constitution establishes in Article 13 that “ everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home, his correspondence and his relations by post and telecommunications ” and that ” everyone has the right to be protected from the abusive use of their personal data “: therefore an expression of the right to privacy perfectly married to the system of protection of personal data and their treatment, implemented through federal laws and cantonal.
In summary: in Switzerland, the Federal Law on Data Protection (LPD) protects the person and the fundamental rights of natural and legal persons whose data are processed, in compliance with the right to privacy and in full application of art. 13 of the Federal Constitution.
The protection and security of personal data in Switzerland
The Federal Data Protection Act (LPD) lists the prerequisites for data processing permitted in a state of law – such as Switzerland – preventing possible abuses and establishing the principle that no more information relating to subjects can be collected than the ones that are actually necessary for the intended purposes (principle of proportionality and data minimization). The protection of personal data in Switzerland falls within the scope of the protection of personality, so personal data are protected not only as data of the individual, but also as part of the personality of the same. Both individuals and legal entities benefit from this protection.
In recent months, as we have seen in previous articles, the international debate on privacy is very heated and changes and news are on the agenda. The push given by the European Union is very incisive in these dynamics of change. Switzerland, sensitive to these evolutions and collaborative, is increasingly a leading actress and in charge of providing balanced solutions. It should be emphasized that the level of data protection in Switzerland is also, in some respects, much more rigorous and precise than that proposed by the EU and therefore becomes deputy to be the tip of the balance or the icing on the cake for the progress desired by the ‘European Union.
Switzerland has solid regulatory and social processes, punctual and reasoned laws on the Privacy system and ideal infrastructures: this makes the nation extremely attractive for start-ups focused on privacy or companies that have an interest in a certain and gap-free protection of their own data. An example above all: in Switzerland, company data is treated as personal data and, as Switzerland is not part of the EU, the data stored there remains beyond the reach of the EU authorities.
This is a very sensitive topic in the last period, given the fuss raised about the management of European citizens’ data in the hands of the US authorities. Swiss law provides that foreign authorities cannot be active on Swiss soil unless they follow the legal channels provided. This means that requests for data must go through a court (and this already happens in many countries) but the person to whom the data is requested must be informed of the request in progress and, if he wishes, can oppose it.
The Swiss system has all the credentials to be the answer: it protects the personality and privacy of natural and legal persons and does so by guaranteeing a system of laws that has as its objective the macro-right to the protection of the personality, rather than a generic (and bland) protection of personal data as such.
- Swiss constitution: https://bit.ly/3nFGhFG
- Federal Council and Data Protection: https://bit.ly/3p16TB0
- Data transfer and adequacy decision: https://bit.ly/2Kgz0O9