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Ombudsman urges Swiss to be more careful about personal data

The Federal Data Protection Commissioner on Monday urged people in Switzerland to be more careful about releasing personal data, saying advertising companies and Internet websites were often using these data for their own ends.

This content was published on July 5, 1999 - 12:46

The Federal Data Protection Commissioner on Monday urged people in Switzerland to be more careful about releasing personal data, saying advertising companies and Internet websites were often using these data for their own ends.

"I remind people to be more responsible" about protecting their personal data, said Odilo Guntern in presenting his annual report.

He said the advertising industry was regularly using presents, sweepstakes and lotteries to attract customers and gain access to important personal data.

Those data were then often used to build up a detailed customer profile or to launch advertising campaigns targetting a specific group of potential customers.

Particularly with regard to the Internet, Guntern said, people in Switzerland often did not realise that they were releasing data which would then regularly be passed on to third parties.

He said citizens should be aware of the fact that e-mail addresses of those entering online chat rooms were often stored on the World Wide Web for months on end.

Internet users should therefore become more careful about releasing data on a particular website. They should also consider whether releasing those data is worth the gift or lottery ticket advertised by the industry.

Guntern further advised the Swiss to only release personal data if those were being transferred by a secure online connection, for instance via an encrypted Internet line.


Sources: APD, sda-ats

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