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Daniel Thür, the data protection officer, has launched a proceeding in which he claims Google Street View violates the privacy rights of individuals who are identifiable from its images. This development is welcome and long overdue in order to discipline Google for prioritizing its own financial interests above the interests of those persons whose privacy rights it is violating.
The collection and use of personal data are mainly governed by the Federal Data Protection Act and its ordinances. This update considers the principles of data protection regulation and related issues, including the rights of individuals, processing by third parties and the transfer of data outside Switzerland.
Many companies with operations in Switzerland are not yet fully aware that Swiss law may severely restrict the use of emails and other electronic material in investigations and disputes, particularly when used for a foreign court proceeding. However, there are procedures to ensure compliance with Swiss data protection law in practice in such situations.
Companies in Switzerland that store business documents on IT systems abroad may be in violation of Swiss law and regulations, according to a circular issued by the Money Laundering Control Authority. Although the circular applies only to companies which are subject to Swiss anti-money laundering legislation, it raises questions concerning other international companies with operations in Switzerland.
The Swiss Parliament has partially revised the Federal Data Protection Act for the first time. The amended statute governing the processing of personal data is expected to become effective in Spring 2007. The revised act increases slightly the transparency of the processing of personal data for the benefit of data subjects, but at the same time makes privacy compliance more costly for private businesses.
No IT service provider wants to be subject to unlimited liability when entering into a contract with a customer. However, a well-prepared customer can poke holes in the limitation of liability provisions of a service provider during contractual negotiations, thus increasing the pressure on the service provider to perform its obligations in a diligent manner.