Transposition into Swiss law of the new EU Directive regarding data protection in the field of criminal prosecution

1. September 2016 – On 31 August 2016, the Swiss Federal Council approved to transpose into Swiss law the regulation contained in the new EU Directive dated 27 April 2016 (EC 2016/680) regarding data protection in the field of criminal prosecution as well as police and judicial cooperation.

As a Schengen Member State, Switzerland was involved in the elaboration of the new EU Directive. The EU Directive strengthens the protection of individuals and expands the obligations regarding the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties. In this respect, it particularly also sets out the requirements for a transfer of personal data abroad by competent authorities from a Schengen Member State to third countries or international organisations and regulates the tasks and competences of the supervisory authority.

The Swiss Federal Council has now charged the Swiss Federal Department of Justice with the preparation of the necessary changes to the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection (DPA) and other Swiss laws as part of the currently ongoing revision of the DPA. The first draft of such revision should be available and submitted for consultation to interested parties this autumn. As the changes will have to be approved by the Swiss Parliament and could also be challenged by an optional public referendum, it will still take some time before any changes will come into force.