IT LAW IN THE WINTER SESSION 2021
Various IT law topics will again be dealt with in the 2021 winter session. Particularly noteworthy is the establishment of a fail-safe computing performance and the necessary transformation of the ICT of MeteoSwiss. The entire MeteoSwiss application landscape will be transferred to internal and external cloud providers.
IT Law topics in the National Council:
- Fail-safe computing performance and necessary transformation of the ICT of MeteoSwiss. With this dispatch (BBl2021 2161), the Federal Council is proposing to Parliament a commitment credit of 34.3 million and the release of a first tranche of 16.5 million for the establishment of fail-safe computing performance and the necessary transformation of the information and communication technology (ICT) of the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). According to the planned operating model, MeteoSwiss will not operate its own computing infrastructure in the long term. The entire application landscape of MeteoSwiss will be transferred to cloud providers internal and external to the federal government. This will allow the computing power to be scaled, while at the same time reducing MeteoSwiss’ own server infrastructures. The project thus supports the achievement of the digital transformation target for the federal administration.
- Postulate: Energy efficiency potential of data centers. The purpose of this postulate is to instruct the Federal Council to evaluate the energy efficiency potential of data centers and, in particular, to clarify how the supply and operation of these centers can be ensured using renewable energies. The Federal Council proposes that the postulate be rejected.
- Parliamentary initiative: finally make cybergrooming with minors a punishable offence. This parliamentary initiative aims to make cybergrooming a criminal offence and to make it an official offence. Cybergrooming refers to the deliberate initiation of sexual contact by adults with minors on the internet. The legal commissions of the National Council and Council of States have approved the initiative in 2019. According to Art. 111 ParlA, a committee of the Council in which the initiative was submitted must prepare a bill within two years. As two years have elapsed without a bill being drafted, the deadline is to be extended.
IT law topics in the Council of States:
- Interpellation: QR code. How important is data protection in this context? This motion asks the Federal Council four questions about the Covid certificate. Among other things, the Federal Council should provide information on which servers, operated by which service providers, and to which countries the data for obtaining the certificate is transferred. Further questions concern the skills and responsibilities of the persons involved, decentralized data management and measures to minimize the transfer of personal and particularly sensitive data to third parties.
- Interpellation: Electronic patient record. Implementing it in practice! This interpellation asks the Federal Council various questions in connection with a motion referred to it in March 2021 (Motion: An electronic patient record for all health professionals involved in the treatment process). The Federal Council’s statement indicates that it is currently subjecting the Federal Act on the Electronic Patient Record to a fundamental review and will decide on the further course of action in February 2022. For the time being, there is no timetable or deadlines for the sequence of connections of individual professional groups to the EPR. In response to the question as to whether the Federal Council intends to grant compensation for one-off investments for connection to an EPR provider, the Federal Council states that the question of financial expenditure depends largely on whether the healthcare professional still keeps medical documentation in paper form or already digitally. In this respect, the current tariffs already include expenses for the management of medical records and for the necessary practice infrastructure.
- Motion: Protect our SMEs and public administrations from cyber-attacks. The purpose of this motion is to instruct the Federal Council to extend the Confederation’s protection against cyber-attacks to the cantons, municipalities and the SME sector. In its statement of 17 November 2021, the Federal Council first states that it is prepared to further develop the Confederation’s services for authorities and SMEs in line with their needs and also to create the corresponding legal basis for this. However, it expressly maintains that, taking into account the principle of subsidiarity, responsibility for protection against cyber-attacks cannot be transferred to the Confederation and must remain with the authorities and SMEs themselves. It is neither necessary nor expedient to transfer these tasks unilaterally to the Confederation. Accordingly, the Federal Council proposes that the motion be rejected.
- Interpellation: Improve road safety thanks to driver assistance systems. This interpellation asks the Federal Council whether it plans (like the EU) to introduce an obligation to equip new vehicles with assistance systems. In its reply, the Federal Council states that it plans to introduce these systems in Switzerland in step with the EU.
- Parliamentary initiative: Paperless Parliament. This parliamentary initiative aims to amend the provisions of the National Council’s Rules of Procedure so that the National Council permanently operates according to the principle of a paperless parliament. The explanatory memorandum states that the total paper consumption of Parliament and the Parliamentary Services for 2016 amounted to 10 million sheets. The National Council approved the initiative in September 2021.