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Timid steps in counter-terrorism law

The cabinet wants to ease access for citizens to personal databases maintained by the intelligence services as part of a proposed review of laws on internal security.

A bill to parliament foresees granting in principle the right to know what kind of information about an applicant has been stored by the intelligence services.

It also sets out criteria for federal agents to carry arms, to work undercover and over the payment of informers.

Following a regular cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Defence Minister Ueli Maurer said additional proposals to step up preventive surveillance would be presented next year.

He said it was up to parliament to weigh up the interests of individual freedom and internal security.

A key parliamentary committee earlier this year criticised the intelligence services for randomly collecting information on people considered potential threats for Switzerland’s security.

In the late 1980s the discovery of files about nearly one million suspected individuals and organisations led to a public outcry.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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