Swiss state surveillance on the rise

Law enforcement was authorised to employ more electronic surveillance in 2020 than in 2019. Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Swiss law enforcement agencies were granted 9,085 warrants to conduct covert electronic surveillance on suspected criminals last year – up from 8,666 operations in 2019.

This content was published on March 23, 2021 - 16:01

There was a rise in the number of retrospective surveillance approvals (finding out who called who and for how long) and a decrease in real time monitoring of phone calls and online exchanges by the Federal Intelligence Service and other law enforcement bodies.

The use of so-called GovWare state-controlled monitoring software, which was authorised in Switzerland in 2018, continued last year (107 cases) at about the same pace as in 2019 (103).

Just over half of all surveillance measures were aimed at solving serious property crimes, 20% concerned serious drugs offences and around 9% were employed in investigating criminal acts that endangered lives.

Law enforcement agencies must apply to a court for a warrant to conduct such surveillance. The intelligence service needs further approval from the ministry for defence and civil protection, which it only gives after consulting with other government ministries.

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

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?