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Vote manipulation Cambridge Analytica scandal ‘unlikely to affect Switzerland’

Adrian Lobsiger

Lobsiger says Swiss political parties have been warned what they are not allowed to do

(Keystone)

There is no evidence that British data firm Cambridge Analytica conducted any shady activities in Switzerland, the Federal Data Protection Commissioner has told Swiss public radio.

In an interview on Saturday, Adrian Lobsiger said the scandal appears to be confined to English-speaking countries. Cambridge Analytica is at the centre of a global storm about how it culled private information from social media sites, notably Facebook. The data appears then to have been used to manipulate elections.

On Wednesday, Zurich’s data protection officer Bruno Baeriswyl told the Tages Anzeiger newspaper that voter manipulation using such data was possible in Switzerland. He warned that such methods might be put to use in the next Swiss general election.

However, Lobsiger said that he has already taken measures to reduce that risk. In his interview on Saturday he said that all Swiss political parties had been sent instructions on how they could – and could not – use private data in the build-up to votes.

Such data campaign tools may only process data of persons who have given their explicit consent, he said. “We have to make sure that political marketing is openly declared and transparent," he said.

Lobsiger also wants large social media and internet multinationals to have physical representation in Switzerland, in the shape of lawyers rather than post boxes, he added. This is to ensure that there are answerable representatives on Swiss soil should anything go awry.

swissinfo.ch/mga

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