Consultation response to the EMBaG

Dear Federal Councillor
Ladies and Gentlemen,

You have invited us to comment within the framework of the consultation on the Swiss Federal law on digitalisation for the fulfilment of administrative functions (EMBaG). We are pleased to be able to take the opportunity to do so.

Since 2011, Opendata.ch has been working to ensure that more people have access to more data, and can use it to generate more knowledge, progress and added value. Organised as a non-profit association, Opendata.ch has been networking and organising around data policy and technology concerns for years and, among other things, carries out interdisciplinary innovation formats with hackathons.
The promotion of an open data culture at all administrative levels is a particular concern of the association, also in its long-standing cooperation with the federal government.

Opendata.ch welcomes the general direction of the new law. However, we are of the opinion that, especially in the rapidly changing field of digitisation, a number of developments that are already underway must be taken into account even more strongly and quickly. This is in order to maintain the authorities’ ability to act adequately in the future, and to take into account the evolving needs of citizens, the economy and civil society.

In the present version, the articles on open data and open source lack the necessary broad impact, the necessary commitment and the indispensable instruments to effectively initiate and continuously measure decisive steps towards successful digitisation. We sorely miss an article on the topic of interfaces, the importance of which is constantly increasing. We also sorely miss in the preliminary draft the possibility of cooperation between the authorities not only with companies, but also with organisations of digital civil society, not least the associations in the area of open source and open data.

Please find enclosed our detailed proposals for concrete improvement of the preliminary draft. We are confident that you will be able to take these into account in the further process. We can only support the current preliminary draft in this way, i.e. with more targeted, binding formulations on the topics mentioned and greater consideration of civil society. We thank you for the attention you have paid to our comments and ask you to take our concerns into account.

Yours sincerely

Andreas Kellerhals, President Opendata.ch
Hannes Gassert, Vice President Opendata.ch

Translated with DeepL’s help - you will find the complete text in German at:

And republished at:

The consultation finished last week and the responses are already rolling in. From the Position statement on March 26 of the Conference of Cantonal Governments:

Article 11: Open Government Data (OGD) (page 7, section 20) The cantonal governments are fundamentally in favour of further expanding the availability and accessibility of public sector data via interfederal data platforms, as it was stated in the Cantonal Guidelines on Digital Administration of 27 September 2018. However, the view of the cantonal governments, is that there is a risk that data collected by a canton will be made available to the Confederation on the basis of legal obligations, and then be published by a federal administrative unit without the cantons having any say in the matter, and independently of the cantonal legal basis or cantonal strategies in this area. The cantonal governments request that Art. 11 Para. 3 include a possibility for the cantonal or communal authorities to deny the publication of the data that they send to the administrative units of the Confederation. Art. 11 Art. 11 para. 3 lit. a lists various conditions that prevent data from being made publicly accessible. The cantonal governments recommend that official secrecy be added to this list. This is because no data should be published that is subject to official secrecy and thus enjoys special protection. It is also suggested that the provision according to which administrative units are not obliged to check the quality of the published data, is expanded with the addition that non-quality-checked OGD must be declared as such.

A discussion on Twitter was initiated by the new CH++ association, which is also compiling a list of organizations who have deposited statements or responses to the law change at https://chplusplus.org/embag.html

https://twitter.com/chplusplus/status/1376596096751927298

Quick sync (30.4.2021) of the links compiled by CH++ here:

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Auf französisch