IT Law in the summer session 2024

The summer session of 2024 will feature a few IT law topics on the agenda. In summary, the focus is on advancing the digitization of administrative tasks and further standardizing data exchange.


IT Law topics in the National Council:


  • Federal Council Business: Federal Law on Health Insurance. Amendment (Data Exchange, Risk Compensation). As part of the amendment to the Federal Law on Health Insurance (KVG), it is planned to introduce electronic data exchange between the cantons and insurers in Article 6b KVG. This is intended to facilitate the control of the insurance obligation and prevent double insurance. Both the National Council and the Council of States have approved the changes. However, there is disagreement between the two councils regarding the statistical recording of the nationality of the insured. Therefore, the reconciliation of differences is on the agenda for the upcoming session.
  • Motion: Transparency in the Animal Traffic Database. The motion “Transparency in the Animal Traffic Database” calls on the Federal Council to create a legal basis in the Agricultural Law. The aim is to record the slaughter weight and the taxation according to CH-TAX of animals with individual animal identification in the animal traffic database, and to make it accessible and retrievable for the last two owners of the respective animal. However, the Federal Council recommends rejecting the motion.
  • Parliamentary Initiative: Amending the Criminal Code with Stalking Offenses. The National Council’s Legal Affairs Committee (RK-N) has decided to draft a commission initiative to explicitly criminalize stalking within the existing provisions of threat and coercion in the Criminal Code. Additionally, solutions for the enforcement of laws against cyberstalking are to be found. The RK-N has developed a corresponding draft and invited the Federal Council to comment. However, the Federal Council considers the draft too vague and not sufficient to solve all problems. The law should explicitly state that stalking only occurs when the victim is restricted in an unreasonable manner. Criminal proceedings should also not be able to be initiated against the will of the victim. In contrast to the draft of the RK-N, the Federal Council is of the opinion that this should also apply in relation to couples.
  • Motion: Create a comprehensive and uniform legal basis for the electronic process in ATSG. This motion instructs the Federal Council to propose an amendment to the Federal Law on the General Part of Social Insurance Law (ATSG). The aim is to create a comprehensive and holistic legal basis for the electronic proceedings (eATSG) for all social insurances. However, the Federal Council considers the solution with DIKOS to be more effective than an exclusive regulation of the matter in the ATSG in order to achieve the digitalization of communication in the social insurance of the 1st pillar/family allowances. Hence, the concerns of the motion would also be largely fulfilled. Therefore, the Federal Council proposes that this motion be rejected.
  • Motion: Protection of Critical Infrastructure from Influence by Other States. This motion calls on the Federal Council to create legal foundations to protect Switzerland’s critical infrastructure in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) from the influence of other states. The National Council and the Council of States support this initiative, where ICT components may be banned if they are controlled by a foreign government. Yet, this could be implemented through certification and information security requirements, whereby ICT components can be banned if their providers are controlled by a foreign government. There are alternatives to bans. With technical, procedural or organizational measures, it is possible to reduce many risks to an acceptable level. The prerequisite for this is that the risks are recognized and correctly assessed.. The Parliament has already given the Federal Council a corresponding mandate with the postulate 20.3984 Pult “Digital Infrastructure. Minimize Geopolitical Risks.” The creation of legal foundations should only be discussed after the completion of this analysis. Therefore the Federal Council recommends rejecting the motion.
  • Motion: For a sovereign digital infrastructure in Switzerland in the age of artificial intelligence. The motion calls for the Federal Council to be instructed to present a legislative revision so that the Confederation, in cooperation with the private sector, the cantons, and research institutes, can promote, co-finance, and monitor the establishment of a sovereign digital infrastructure (including a cloud service and an independent exchange platform). This motion aims to strengthen cyber security and digital sovereignty in Switzerland while simultaneously addressing the new challenges associated with AI, maintaining Switzerland’s competitiveness in the field of digitalization, and protecting Swiss democracy from potential external interference. The Federal Council asks the parliament to reject the Motion, as it sees the concerns of the motion as already partially fulfilled, for example, through the planned Swiss Government Cloud. Moreover, sufficient legal foundations are already in place today to finance such projects.

IT law topics in the Council of States:

  • Interpellation: As part of the modernization of the Broadcasting Law, the lifting of the ban on political advertising for private radio stations is being discussed. The Commission for Transport and Telecommunications has proposed lifting the ban to strengthen the competitiveness of regional radios and improve their financial situation, especially in light of the increasing influence of international social networks. Originally, political advertising on radio and television was prohibited to limit election campaign expenses and preserve the independence of broadcasters. Following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), this ban was limited to the period before referendums. The Federal Council recognizes the resulting unequal treatment compared to the press, but the National Council rejected lifting the ban in 2021, as the drift of advertising to social platforms is a general problem for all media. The interpellation will be addressed in the summer session.
  • Federal Council Business: Program for Promoting Digital Transformation in Healthcare (DigiSanté). Commitment Credit. The Federal Council has passed the DigiSanté program to promote digitalization in healthcare and transferred a commitment credit to Parliament. DigiSanté aims to improve efficiency, treatment quality, and patient safety through a connected and interoperable infrastructure. The government takes over the coordination and develops standards for seamless data flow together with the actors. The National Council welcomes the DigiSanté program and intends to provide a multi-million dollar support package, which was also accepted by the Commission for Social Security and Health of the Council of States (SGK-S). The proposal is now on the Council of States agenda.
  • Federal Council Business: Income Compensation Act (Digitalization in the Income Compensation Ordinance). Amendment. The Federal Council has decided that as of 2026, service providers in the army, civil service, civil protection, and “Youth and Sports” will be able to submit their applications for income compensation benefits (EO) digitally. The introduction of a nationwide digital system and the automation of the process are expected to lead to significant savings for the affected employers and the cantonal compensation offices. The necessary legal adjustments have been approved by the National Council and the SGK-SR The proposal is now on the agenda of the Council of States .
  • Interpellation: Level Playing Field for Online Marketplaces. The interpellation addresses the growing presence of foreign online marketplaces like Shein, Temu, and Wish, undercutting prices, often not complying with Swiss product safety standards. It raises the question of measures to protect consumers and the domestic economy. These platforms not only endanger consumer safety but also disadvantage local manufacturers, who have higher costs to comply with safety regulations. The Federal Council has stated that foreign providers offering products to Swiss consumers are subject to Swiss product safety law if they commercially offer or put these products on the market in Switzerland. However, enforcement is difficult due to the principle of territoriality. The implementation of measures proposed in the context of Postulate 17.4228 is taking place within the framework of the customs law revision and the DaziT program.
  • Interpellation: For Fair Competition in the Acquiring Market for Cashless Payment Methods. The acquiring market comprises services that enable merchants to accept and process card payments. The interpellation addresses market investigations in the area of cashless payments and the related questions to the Federal Council. There is no current information on the market shares of acquirers in Switzerland, but the dominant position of Worldline SA is recognized. The existing legal framework fundamentally provides opportunities to take action against excessive fees in the acquiring market, although the barriers for abuse are high. There is no general obligation to disclose fee structures, but merchants are informed about the costs incurred. The price watchdog has already agreed on price caps for debit card transactions with Worldline SA. The Federal Council emphasizes the importance of transparency and fair market conditions, especially to protect small and medium-sized enterprises from excessive fees.