Thursday, August 15, 2013

Data Privacy

During the ascent of Nazism in Europe in the decade before world war II, the Swiss banks introduced secret bank accounts to hide the identity of persecuted customers from infiltrated spies working at the banks or loitering in their lobbies. After the war, this mechanism was abused by the banks to assist tax evaders and consequently has been largely dismantled.

Apparently, the Swiss have been able to maintain their reputation as a discreet country. An echo effect of the leak of an American agency's penchant for snooping everybody's data, is that more entities are now storing their data in Switzerland, although data storage in Switzerland is about 25% more expensive than in the neighboring EU countries. "Our customers know that money can be replaced — but sensitive data can not," says Mateo Meier of Artmotion, a data center in Zürich. Switzerland's know-how, political stability and adequate infrastructure are ideal conditions to store data securely, he says.

History does not repeat itself, and the Swiss have learned from the mistakes related to bank secrecy: there are no privacy rights for suspected felons and their data.

Newspaper article: Schweizer Datentresore sind nicht sicher