Challenge to surveillance law fails

The committee against the surveillance of telecommunications launched its campaign in April but it failed despite support from youth chapters of several parties across the political spectrum Keystone

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.

This content was published on July 7, 2016 and agencies

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.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Weekly top stories

Keep up to date with the best stories from SWI on a range of topics, straight into your mailbox.


The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.