Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

Data spying

WEF ‘possibly’ bugged, founder tackles privacy

Schwab said governments needed to find solutions to the privacy issue together with civil society (Keystone)

Schwab said governments needed to find solutions to the privacy issue together with civil society


World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab has waded into the global data spying issue, calling for “real debate” about the dangers of the end of privacy and the impact on society. The annual Davos event might even have been bugged, he said.

Speaking to the SonntagsZeitung newspaper just under two months before WEF 2014 begins, Schwab said discussion about the National Security Agency scandal had “opened our eyes to just how important it is to protect ourselves against technological possibilities”.

He did not know if he or the WEF itself had been under surveillance, but it was “possible”.

Today society needed to recognise that privacy is “severely restricted”, he said. “Everything is transparent, whether we like it or not. This is unstoppable. If we behave acceptably, and have nothing to hide, it won’t be a problem. The only question is, who determines what is acceptable.”

He argued that while intelligence services had always collected data as part of their efforts to protect society, society also needed to be protected against “unwarranted” actions. “Ultimately social cooperation is only possible on the basis of trust. Unbridled transparency undermines privacy and unbridled control mechanisms destroy trust.”

The consequences of the end of privacy would be raised at the upcoming WEF, he said, where the theme is “Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business”.

“The major challenges involved cannot be solved by government alone. Politics, economy and society must work together to find solutions to what is allowed under the new transparency and what is not.”

Banking secrecy, is a “fiction”, he added, and the debate surrounding it was taking place in a context that is now “long outdated” due to technological developments, with other personal information now more easily traceable.




All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.