Challenge to surveillance law fails
A new law aimed at boosting the powers of the intelligence service is set to go on the books after opponents all but conceded defeat by failing to collect enough signatures to mount a challenge.
Parliament approved the law last year. It gives the Swiss intelligence service greater powers to monitor private communications in Switzerland in the interests of fighting terrorism, spying and arms proliferation.
Opponents argue the change in law undermines people’s freedom and democracy by giving intelligence services too much power to monitor private communications over the internet and telephones or to bug private homes.
Someone Googling certain key words or terms also could come to the attention of the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS), which will have more latitude for monitoring private online communications, tapping phone lines and looking at postal mail. It will also be allowed to use drones to record public events.
But the deadline for the planned referendum against the change in law has expired, and opponents were unable to authenticate all the 50,000 signatures that were needed to submit to the Federal Chancellery. By Thursday afternoon, they had authenticated some 45'240 signatures.
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