Who crosses the Swiss border? The Confederation is more and more informed

Who crosses the Swiss border? The Confederation is more and more informed

In 2016 the number of States whose citizens are to be notified to the Intelligence Service doubled

BERN – The decision of the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) to keep track of the people crossing the Swiss border from other countries is justified by the Federal Council on account of the rise of the terrorist threat.

The annual report issued by the Swiss Management Commission explains that in 2016 the Swiss government doubled the number of States whose citizens are notified to the Federal Intelligence Service. To this aim a purpose-built program known as “Photopass” was introduced which automatically saves the data of the people crossing the Swiss border from a list of countries.

Questioned by the Delegation of the management commission on account of the fact access to the system can be gained by too broad circles, the system was reviewed and since the end of 2015 the information collected is automatically saved in a data bank. Following its implementation, the number of people recorded to have crossed the border has become ten times higher than in the past years.

On the other hand, the FIS cannot expect the State Secretariat for Migration (SSM) to extend the notifying obligation to passengers departing from certain airports simply for the sake of its requirements. The above measure is merely an instrument designed to hold back the illegal transit of migrants.

The Federal Council arbitrated in the dispute by claiming before the Delegation of Commissions that the law currently in force does not authorize the Intelligence Service to use the data. To this aim, the law ought to be revised.

At the same time since the Delegation would like to access the list of secret agreements signed by the Federal Council, at the end of 2016 a letter was sent to the Federal Council urging them to take a centralized approach to their commitments and confidential agreements.

Furthermore, the Delegation’s report states its interest in unpublished international treaties for the sake of domestic and abroad security. They deplore the fact that both the procurement organization for armaments (armasuisse) and FIS refused to share whatever communication.

As for the measures adopted following last December’s cyberattack against the armament company RUAG, the National Management Commission is monitoring them and a report is to be issued by the end of the year.

Finally, the Parliamentary Control of administration will evaluate the impact the free trade agreements signed by the Confederation will have as well as the efficacy of administrative detention of asylum seekers. Reports to be issued by the end of the year.

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