- The Swiss Courier Service wins against law enforcement authorities in federal court. It is not necessary to provide any data.
- The Department of Justice and Federal Police requested FDJP to share the data.
- Thus, the Federal Supreme Court confirmed a decision of the Federal Administrative Court for the year 2020.
The Swiss app Threema promises an anonymous exchange with other people, whether by messaging or online communication. But this does not suit the authorities. The Post and Telecommunications Traffic Monitoring Service (PF) requested real-time metadata monitoring and removal of transport encryption in 2018.
Privacy versus security
For Martin Blatter, Threema’s CEO and co-founder, this is “a popular way to divert attention from the government’s failures.” After all, the authorities were already aware of the perpetrators of all the major attacks in recent years.
PF, in turn, is based on telecommunications law. This states that “telecom service providers” such as Swisscom and Sunrise must hand over stored data to law enforcement upon request. The same applies to Threema.
Run through situations
Threema went to the Federal Administrative Court and was right. The Freedom and Justice Party referred the case to the federal court – which confirmed the decision on April 29. The reason: Applications like Threema will not provide any line or radio infrastructure, but only feed the existing information.
It’s an important data protection victory over the hyper-intrusive case.
CEO Blatter speaks of “victory over the surplus police state”. Had the court decided otherwise, Threima would have moved abroad.
In FDJP and PF, one takes note only of the judgment. They don’t want to comment on SRF yet.
Threema as a security hole
Digital expert Jean-Claude Frick welcomes the decision. He is not worried about public safety. Sharing data will not affect terrorists, for example, but rather broad audiences of users. “Anyone who doesn’t want to be found will find a way anyway,” says Frick.
The data found is not kept confidential.
Serious security vulnerabilities only appear when applications like Threema remove the encryption and save the data: “Existing data is never kept secret.” The digital expert says: “It is always leaked at some point and falls into the hands of hackers.”
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