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Survey: Swiss want more security

Events such as the Zug massacre have heightened people's fears Keystone Archive

A majority of people in Switzerland appear willing to accept more security checks in public in the wake of a series of recent disasters.

This content was published on December 31, 2001 - 15:50

A poll published on Monday in the Zurich daily, Tages-Anzeiger, shows that 72 per cent of the people questioned favour more surveillance cameras at airports, railway stations or public squares.

Two of three people surveyed called for tighter controls of banking activities and more thorough checks by public registry offices. More than 60 per cent said security should be stepped up at public offices and buildings.

In addition, a majority said there should be closer surveillance of activities on the Internet.

However, only a 23 per cent minority came out in favour of more telephone surveillance.

Asked whether police should register specific, potentially dangerous groups in Switzerland, 45 per cent of those questioned came out in favour, while 46 per cent rejected the proposal.

The survey, commissioned by the Tages-Anzeiger, involved telephone interviews with 905 people in the German- and French-speaking parts of the country.

Risk of abuse

The Federal Data Protection Commissioner, Hanspeter Thür, said he expected the authorities to further increase security measures in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States and the attack by a lone gunman on a regional parliament in the central Swiss town of Zug in September.

He said that, so far, there has been a fair balance between the need for increased security and protection of people's civic liberties.

However, he warned of a risk of abuse of the data and said his office only had limited capacity to oversee the activities of the authorities.

The post of Data Protection Commissioner was created in 1989 following the discovery of what became known as the police file scandal.

The country's intelligence services kept files of nearly one million citizens and organisations considered a potential threat for the country.

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