Switzerland’s federal government wants to create a database containing the personal details of air passengers to counter terrorism and crime, reported RTS. However, the project has drawn serious criticism.
After the terrorist attack in the US on 11 September 2001, America’s federal government demanded access to passenger data. Destination, name, passport number, birth date and method of payment are now analysed by the authorities to identified suspicious travellers.
More and more nations, including Switzerland, want to introduce the same system. Switzerland’s Federal Council wants to create a national register and a special team to analyse the data.
The United Nations Security Council is demanding the new measures. And the EU has already passed similar legislation.
Thomas Hurter, a parliamentarian, pilot and member of the UDC/SVP, supports the idea. It’s a law that will help counter terrorism and criminality, he said. It could help complete a picture of someone suspect that could prevent a serious incident.
However, Jorgo Ananiadis, head of the Pirate Party is against the idea. For him it is another instance of increased surveillance in Switzerland to the detriment of basic rights. Other countries have similar but more reasonable systems. At a minimum, the scope of the law must be drastically reduced and gather only the most important data for a short time period, said Ananiadis.
In addition, the head of Aerosuisse, Switzerland’s aviation association, is unhappy with the proposed fines aimed at airlines if they transfer incorrect information.
RTS article (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
For more stories like this on Switzerland follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Scott stevens says
Swiss attempts at registrations are just a big money making scam. For example, if you want to use any free public WiFi anywhere in Switzerland you have to pay a contract to Swisscom, pay a big fee, then you can download a WiFi key to the phone to use the free WiFi for a few hours. Foreign phones don’t work. Also prepaid credit cards are rare and have to be registered, also with huge fees. Be careful of Swiss registrations in the name of public safety. In America you can use free WiFi anywhere without codes, go to walgreens and get a prepaid card that you can transfer money into from any account for no fees.
I believe it’s a good idea. You must prevent terrorism with the best technology because you cannot afford to take any chances. A terrorist is not worth your time and neither are his acts of terror. The best way to stop terrorism and prevent any harboring of terror, you must verify who, where, and when the person will be returning to and from his or her vacation, travel, etc. After 9/11, every developed country needs to prevent terrorism. Switzerland is a very developed country and they have a lot of assets and resources that need to be protected. Switzerland is considered one of the best countries in the world and the thought of a terrorist trying to commit an attack would cause disastrous consequences to the infrastructure and stability of Switzerland.
Philipp R says
If only the SVP showed the same eagerness to fight tax dodging…
I think it’s only right to keep track of travellers and if you are concerned about your privacy then don’t fly because airports are not the only ones collecting data. Yes, don’t store data longer than needed, especially if it contains identifiable data.
As long as they don’t start associating video recordings with passenger data and as long as they don’t make audio recordings of private conversations I don’t see why anyone would have concerns. But keep the data encrypted at all times.
Terrorism prevention is important but as of now not really a big topic in switzerland due to low incident rates. So if it’s really needed is to be determined.