Switzerland votes in favour of more government surveillance amid fear of terror attacks


Voters approve bill to allow intelligence services to monitor communications by 65.5 percent.

Swiss voters have approved a bill which give their security services more power to eavesdrop on its citizens.

A proposed law was approved by 65.5 per cent of those who voted in the referendum, results on Sunday showed.

The law grants the Swiss police and intelligence services the right to tap phones and communications of a suspect with the permission of the federal court, the defence ministry and the cabinet – something that has been banned in the country unlike many of its European neighbours.

The bill was originally passed by the Swiss parliament last year but an alliance of the Socialist and Green parties, commanded enough signatures to force a referendum on the subject.

Switzerland’s direct democracy system means the electorate goes to the polls four times a year to make decisions on a raft of new legislation.

The referendum saw a turnout of just 43 per cent – much lower than during previous votes on more controversial topics such as immigration, Islam and the EU, the Guardian reported.

The Swiss defence minister, Guy Parmelin, insisted that the country was“leaving the basement and coming up to the ground floor by international standards” and it was in no way comparable to the level of surveillance of major powers such as the US.

The vote marks a change in public attitudes following recent terror attacks across Europe.


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