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Protection of Personal Data

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The laws on privacy are intended to protect the individual in his private life. Today, owing to the introduction of computer and telecommunications technology, and the Internet in particular, the use of automated data processing is more widespread. The increased diffusion of personal information creates a greater risk of violation of privacy. Accordingly, the legislator realised that the provisions of the Civil Code on the right to privacy were no longer sufficient. The Federal Law on Data Protection which came into force in 1993 supplements pre-existing regulations. It is intended to protect privacy in the processing of personal data, i.e. any information relating to an identified or identifiable person, whether an individual or corporate entity. Personal information may be collected only by means that are both lawful and bona fide. Any person processing data is under an obligation to take appropriate measures to ensure that third parties have no access to said data.

Any person is entitled to be informed of the data concerning him or her contained in a data base, and of what use is to be made of that information, unless statutory provisions or his or her own preponderant interests or those of a third party prevent this. It follows that access to data by the person immediately concerned ought not to lead to a breach of banking secrecy involving a third party. Access to personal data concerning a deceased person is granted only where the applicant provides justification therefore, and when the interests of the deceased next of kin or of third parties are not overriding. In no way can a search for assets attributable to an estate be, in principle, based on this law.

   
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