April 20, 2016

"As United States and European Union regulators debate a sweeping new data-privacy agreement, Switzerland is presenting itself as a viable neutral location for storing the world’s data thanks to strict privacy laws and ideal infrastructure."

Daily Dot: The Swiss constitution guarantees data privacy under Article 13. By Jonathan Keane

'The country’s laws protecting privacy are similar to those enacted by the E.U. Swiss data protections are also, in some cases, much stricter than those of the E.U., according to Nicola Benz, attorney at Swiss law firm Froriep. And since Switzerland is not part of the E.U., data stored there remains outside the reach of the union’s authorities.

'“Swiss law contains things that we call blocking statutes,” Benz said, “which mean that foreign authorities can’t conduct their authority’s functions on Swiss soil unless they follow the proper judicial channels.” The country’s tight privacy laws could make the small nation more attractive to privacy-focused start-ups. And it already has that momentum.

'After the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden 2013 revelations about the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance activities, Switzerland witnessed something of a boom in its data-center business. Phil Zimmermann, creator of the popular PGP encryption protocol and founder of Silent Circle, even left the U.S. for Switzerland last year, citing the overreach of American authorities.

'Andy Yen, CEO of Swiss-based encrypted email service Protonmail, said that the country has robust processes in how it carries out data requests from authorities. Data requests have to go through a court like in most countries, said Yen, but “the person that’s having their data requested needs to be notified eventually about the request happening and there’s an opportunity to fight it in an open court. This is quite different than the U.S., where things can go through a so-called FISA court.”'

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