What data is being collected about me?
Whenever we use customer cards or do online shopping, we leave a data trail behind us. Companies collect this in order to adapt their products, design new customer services, or analyze our purchasing behavior. Would you like to know what data companies are collecting about you? The Federal Data Protection Act (FADP) gives all persons the right to demand information from the holders of collected data about the data held on them and to have that data modified (Art. 8 DPA).
Based on a "request for information" (see sample), the holder of the data collection must provide the person concerned with the following information:
- all data about them that is in the data collection
- the origin of this data
- the purpose and the legal basis of the data processing
- categories (i.e. not the names) of those involved in the data collection
- categories (i.e. not the names) of the data recipients.
The holder can refuse to supply this information, limit it, or delay its issue if this is provided for under the law – e.g. in the case of details that are subject to legal privilege. The right to information can also be limited – provided this is necessary in the predominant interest of a third party. This can apply when the naming of an informant seriously jeopardize that persons life. Predominant interests of the data holder himself can also limit the right to information if the data is not passed on to third parties. In addition, for data collections that are exclusively used for publication in the editorial section of the press, radio, TV, online magazines, etc., special rules apply – in particular, far-reaching protection of the source.
Supplying false or incomplete data in response to a request for information may result in a fine. The information request must be formulated in writing (see template). The applicant must prove his identity, e.g. with a copy of his ID card. The holder of the data collection must within 30 days provide the information or a justified decision to limit the right to information. The information is generally to be supplied in writing, in the form of a printout or a copy.
The holder of the data collection can also allow the applicant to inspect the data on site. However, he is not obligated to do so. A contribution toward the cost of providing the information may only be requested if it involves a particularly large effort or if the applicant has already received the desired information in the past. The contribution to costs may not exceed CHF 300 and must be communicated to the applicant in advance so that he can withdraw his request without subsequent costs.