From 2013 to mid 2017, Switzerland’s authorities sent 361 data requests to Facebook, most related to suspected terrorist activity. The social network refused to provide information for 253 (70%) of these requests, according to the newspaper SonntagsZeitung.
Part of the problem is legal differences between the US and Switzerland. Lulzana Musliu, a spokesperson for the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol) told the newspaper that a Swiss Facebook user could spread propaganda on the social network that is illegal in Switzerland but not in the US.
According to Fedpol, urgent requests, via a direct emergency link set up five years ago, work very well. These requests relate to imminent danger such as suicide attempts and kidnappings. Over the first six months of 2017, Facebook shared user profile information for eight out of twelve such requests.
Despite the high number of information request rejections, Musliu says that working with Facebook has certainly improved.
At the same time Switzerland’s parliament and upper house want companies such as Facebook to be required to set up representation or a delivery address in Switzerland to make it easier for the government to access data. The Federal Council isn’t keen on this idea. It argues that given the data is stored abroad such an obligation wouldn’t be directly enforceable.
A report entitled: The future treatment of data and data security, is expected to be published at the end of summer.