Switzerland: Federal Council adopts measures to promote trustworthy data spaces and digital self-determination
The Federal Council announced, on 30 March 2022, that it had published a report on promoting trusted data spaces and digital self-determination. In particular, the Federal Council highlighted the need to better exploit the potential use of data calls for new concepts of data use which strengthen control over one's own data and thus digital self-determination. Notably, by means of the report, the Federal Council instructed the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs ('FDFA') and the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications ('DETEC') to implement various measures. Specifically, the Federal Council highlighted that a voluntary code of conduct for the operation of trusted data spaces will be developed by June 2023, with the participation of all relevant stakeholders, whilst the Federal Council also seeks to strengthen interoperability between data spaces, for example in the areas of mobility and energy.
Additionally, the report identifies barriers to exploit the full potential of data, noting that:
- big players are increasingly holding more data that they use mostly for their own purposes;
- there are different barriers to data use among private and public service providers (e.g. lack of know-how, insufficient resources, and fears of competitive disadvantage); and
- a growing share of the population is wary of the use of data, whether for fear of misuse and loss of privacy, lack of decision-making possibilities, or lack of incentive to the data available for common use.
Further to the above, the report identifies the creation of trusted data spaces as an approach to achieving digital self-determination, highlighting that they will improve access to data, whilst strengthening the individuals' control over their own data.
Moreover, the report acknowledges that data flows are generally transnational, and, underscoring of trusted data spaces being designed to be internationally compatible, calls for international guidelines to be drawn up for these spaces in order to also generate legal certainty.