The new Swiss surveillance law or the false choice between privacy and security

It happened on a Sunday, September 25th, a day which will probably go down in history. That is when Swiss voters approved a new surveillance law granting their national intelligence service greater powers to spy on “terrorist” suspects and cyber criminals.

A good initiative in theory, when put to practice, this new law would allow the authorities to tap phones, snoop on email and deploy hidden cameras and bugs, thus monitoring any potential suspects.

Of the 5 million voters, 65 percent supported this legislative initiative. The other 35 percent will just have to deal with this situation and find solutions for not being tracked (you can always try our free VPN, available on any platform).

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Any resemblance to the NSA is purely coincidental

Does this new law remind of the already notorious data-gathering machine developed by the NSA and revealed by Edward Snowden?

Not to Yannick Buttet, a politician and Christian Democratic Party vice president, who declared: “This is not generalized surveillance. It’s letting the intelligence services do their job.” Guy Parmelin, Swiss defence minister, said that with the new measures Switzerland was “leaving the basement and coming up to the ground floor by international standards”.

Until now, phone tapping and monitoring emails were banned in Switzerland.

So why now, Switzerland?

Opponents of this legislation have pointed out that it could erode civil liberties and put Swiss neutrality at risk by requiring closer co-operation with foreign intelligence agencies.

However, the recent surge in terrorist attacks in Europe has had a major impact on the level of fear among the old continent’s population. Even a neutral country like Switzerland, that fought its las war in 1847, began to feel threatened and when scared, people tend to make rash decisions.

Somehow, those that voted in favor of the new surveillance law thought that they would thus help increase security. And when you have to vote between privacy and security, people tend to wrongly sacrifice the first.

Join the debate on the new #Swiss #surveillance law! What would you choose between #privacy and security? Click to Tweet

The illusion of choice

A Hobson’s choice is a “free choice” in which only one thing is really offered. The phrase is said to have originated with Thomas Hobson (1544–1631), a livery stable owner in Cambridge, England, who offered customers the choice of either taking the horse in his stall nearest the door or taking none at all.

When having to opt between privacy and security, there is no real decision involved. They both should be innate rights and their defense should be the responsibility of the state. Therefore, the people should not have to compromise on any.

What’s your take on the subject, Ghosties? If we have people living in Switzerland among us, how do you feel about this new law?

 

Sources: bbc.com, aljazeera.com, express.co.uk

About the author

Corina Dobre
Corina Dobre

A professional wordsmith, Corina has improved her writing skills through extensive experiences in journalism, advertising and marketing. Curious by nature, she enjoys learning foreign languages and discovering everything, as well as everyone around her.

5 Comments

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  • Hi im a swiss citizen, although im didnt vote for this law im dont feel that bad about it. Intrust our authorities and they will not spy on all of us just on serious suspects, wich im totally ok with.

    Greets

    • Thank you for your comment, Lawlez! It’s nice to discover an insider’s perspctive and let’s hope that authorities will indeed only use this law to spy on serious suspects. You can still use CyberGhost however to make sure your most personal data is safe. Cheers!

  • Hi, im likewise from switzerland like Lawlez but im not much of a fan of this new law. I voted against it since there was no real need for any change necessary. You could tell how the swiss media where campaigning (silently) for this law and playing with the fear of the people and always writing about how many “attacks” where prevented thanks to inteligence gathering (spying). Well whats done is done now, no use crying over spilled milk. Only time will tell what will happen now.

    • Thank you for your thoughts on this. Indeed, time will tell what this law will actual imply for Swiss citizens. What’s important though is that we remember we have a say in this and if we’re not pleased with an initiative, we can express ourselves. Meanwhile, you can still use CyberGhost to make sure your most personal data is safe. Cheers!

  • the swiss copy the Americans at all
    I have never seen a country with political like a swiss
    if Americans do any law can be sure that some time after this law exists in switzerland
    they are the Americans dog lickers
    lol
    example: while the banks make money with tax leakage
    nobody said anything
    after the Americans decided to recover money ; the swiss banks denounce own employees who called customers
    banks knew everything and blame who?
    employees who did what the boss (bank) sent?
    lol

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