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Data protection Watchdog warns against curbing access to public data

Data protection commissioner Lobsiger (left) says it is never too late to protect the private sphere 

(Keystone)

The data protection watchdog has criticised plans by the government to limit public access to official documents.

Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner Adrian Lobsiger said on Monday that attempts to exclude public procurement – as well as most aspects of the intelligence service and certain documents about transport issues – were undermining the principle of transparency in administration.

Presenting his office’s annual report, Lobsiger noted that the fees to be paid to receive access had risen by 66% in 2015 compared with the previous year. Lobsiger added that this was in contradiction to a move underway in parliament calling for a cost-free access in principle.

The number of requests for access dropped to 551 last year, down about 50 in the previous year.

No surrender

Lobsiger said he will fight for the individual right for a private sphere against Big Data. He called on online services to ensure that users can understand the business terms and contracts and that they can easily choose and change their options.

It is never too late to fight for the right to privacy against illegal practices, he said.

His office successfully forced the multinational technology company Microsoft, the Swiss commercial and business data register Moneyhouse and Swiss telecom provider Swisscom to adapt their policies.

swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug


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