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Opponents to Swiss surveillance law force direct public vote

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A Swiss digital surveillance law that has rankled online privacy advocateswill now subjected to a public vote, after opponents collected enoughsignatures to challenge the legislation.

The Swiss parliament passed the law, roughly translated as the IntelligenceAct, in September 2015. The act gives federallaw enforcement officers increased leeway to conduct surveillance operations onits citizens, including hacking into computers and collecting cell data—but nowit must be approved by Switzerland's general population, announced Swissencrypted email service ProtonMail, which spearheaded the petition effort.

Under Switzerland's directdemocracy, any law can be put up for public referendum if opponents collect atleast 50,000 signatures within three months its passing. According to a news item ProtonMail published earlier this month, the referendum is alsobacked by rights organizations Amnesty International and Grundrechte.ch, plus variousSwiss political and business groups.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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