Next Wednesday--February 26, the Internet Society Switzerland Chapter (ISOC-CH) is not only carrying out its Annual General Assembly, but also policy workshops and discussions (please do register) on two laws: (1) an electronic ID (e-ID) and (2) renewed Data Protection.

p≡p to Be Present

With p≡p staff also active in ISOC-CH and the foundation having a primary focus on privacy, we will be present to discuss these two quite contradicting topics.

Switzerland Needs a Strong Data Protection Law

On the one hand--in the e-ID case--we have a law with serious negative implications what concerns privacy and in which--conceptually--we have no vital interest; still, the legislators entirely missed to enforce principles of decentralization and technical privacy (including query privacy) as they are shown to be possible in projects like reclaimID, which could also be tried out for (legitimate) e-government applications--given enough funding.

On the other hand--with the new Data Protection law--we will be discussing that it might finally be time for Switzerland to adopt modern privacy regulations, if for the digital sphere the "Swissness" label is to be of any substantial value in the future--especially in light of the recent CryptoLeaks scandal and Switzerland's denial to investigate foreign mass surveillance affecting virtually everyone--from citizens, public offices to enterprises--already in the past.

In that context, it also has to be considered that Switzerland was much faster in reinforcing its mass surveillance regulations (with widened data retention practices in BÜPF/LSCPT and selector / mass searches over much more data in NDG/LRens) than to upgrade its antique Data Protection law from 1992 to levels which at least match those of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union.

While state surveillance--almost not affected by privacy regulations--must be reduced in the future, too, particularly in the private sector, a new strong Data Protection law can help to limit the immense data collection which is taking place without any user consent from private companies through users' end-devices or "smart" devices in cars, at home or elsewhere. After all, it has to be taken into account that data of private origin is increasingly source for state surveillance. Reducing such data collections can thus also reduce the ability of state(s) to track every person's move.

ISOC-CH Membership

In Switzerland, ISOC-CH is a great platform to connect not just to digital actors of civil society as they are mainly active in groups like CCC-CH and--at its core--Digitale Gesellschaft, but also to stake holders from public offices and enterprises, both locally and globally (through inter-connections to the global ISOC community).

That said, consider becoming a member!
(If you want, you can also acquire the membership directly at the event.)