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Give and take Swiss secret service benefits from data exchange

Satellite dish of an intelligence service base outside the Swiss capital, Bern 

(Keystone)

Switzerland’s intelligence service receives more information from other countries than it has provided.

An agency spokeswoman confirmed that the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) last year obtained about 9,000 data, but passed on about 4,500 data to services in other countries.

It is the first time that the Swiss authorities released figures to the general public following a court case launched by the tabloid Blick four years ago.

More detailed data from previous years were not available. The Swiss cooperated with more than 100 other foreign services according to the FIS.

Defence Minister Guy Parmelin has said he hoped that Switzerland would be less dependent on information exchange if voters in September approve a legal amendment allowing the intelligence agency to break into computer systems abroad.

The law will also pave the way for Switzerland to participate in a planned European database on suspected terrorists.

The FIS employed 281 people last year. It is a merger of the domestic and foreign intelligence branches in 2010.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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