Swiss protest against new personal identification number

By EDRi · August 4, 2004

The Swiss data protection authorities and several political parties have used a governmental consultation round to protest against a proposal to introduce a new sectoral ID number for persons, the SPIN law.

According to the privacy authorities, the proposed law violates both constitutional and data protection principles. The new personal identification number would be sectoral and based on a central server within the federal justice department. But the sectors are not clearly defined or even analysed, thus violating the principle of proportionality.

To make it worse, the responsibilities for access, for security, transmission and usage of the PIN are not sufficiently clear. “This results in a lack of transparency and absence of indispensable protection measures.” The privacy authorities demand a serious public debate and find the schedule for parliamentary debate (in the winter of 2004) much too early.

In April 2003 the data protection authorities already objected against the planned introduction of a universal identification number. They will only accept a personal identification number (PIN) if used for statistical reasons, specifically aimed at solving the problems with the next population census planned for 2010.

Opinion of the Federal data protection authorities (in French and in German, 28.07.2004)

SIUG opinion on the SPIN-law (in German, 23.07.2004)

(Contribution by Daniel Boos, EDRI-member SIUG)