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Swiss official voices concerns about inadequate data protection in US

Switzerland is not an EU member, but often mirrors or lines up with the positions of the 27-member bloc that all but surrounds the wealthy Alpine country

Topics
Switzerland | United States | Data Privacy

AP  |  Geneva 

Representative Image. Photo: iStock
In July, the EU's top court ruled that the bloc's own Privacy Shield program with the US was invalid because the American government can snoop on people''s data

A Swiss federal commissioner announced Tuesday that a US-Swiss programme aimed to protect personal information exchanged between the two countries doesn't go far enough, and has downgraded the to rank it as a country deemed to have inadequate

Federal and Information Commissioner Adrian Lobsiger, in a new policy paper, recommends that Swiss companies or government should disclose personal data to the US only if safeguards are put in place to protect people from prying US authorities.

Lobsiger's paper follows a regular review of the three-year-old US-Swiss programme known as Privacy Shield, and his recommendations follow similar concerns expressed by EU authorities about an alleged lack of privacy protections in the

is not an EU member, but often mirrors or lines up with the positions of the 27-member bloc that all but surrounds the wealthy Alpine country.

In July, the EU's top court ruled that the bloc's own Privacy Shield program with the US was invalid because the American government can snoop on people's data.

The ruling complicated business decisions for some 5,000 companies including tech giants and financial firms.

The EU court ruling followed a case brought by Austrian activist Max Schrems, who complained about the handling of his Facebook data.

In his paper, Lobsiger determined the should be categorised as providing inadequate data protection, a downgrade from its earlier classification of the US as adequate in certain conditions."

The US is now placed alongside countries like Russia, China, Cuba, Japan and most African and Latin American states. Most European countries are deemed to have adequate protections.

The recommendations do not have the force of law, but could factor into decisions by corporate chiefs or government officials about whether to share private information about Swiss residents and citizens. Only a court would have final say.

Lobsiger said Swiss residents and citizens do not have sufficient enforceable legal rights in the US and pointed to a lack of transparency in the US ombudsman system - raising questions about the ombudsman's power and independence.

He said safeguards were lacking in the United States, and said hoped-for improvements in the U.S. didn't come about.

The Privacy Shield program focuses on data exchange between businesses and guarantees provided by US authorities on protecting personal data transferred between the countries, notably involving the mass collection of non-US citizens' data for the purposes of anti-terrorism measures and national security, the paper said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Wed, September 09 2020. 00:06 IST
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