Federal Council lays foundations for Swiss data ecosystem

This is a machine translation of the Press Release from 08.12.2023 - original title: Bundesrat schafft Grundlagen für Schweizer Datenökosystem

Bern, 08.12.2023 - The potential of data should be better exploited in Switzerland. Data should be able to be used in a trustworthy manner for the benefit of society, research and the economy. Better multiple use of data should also strengthen Switzerland’s ability to respond to crises. This is why a so-called Swiss data ecosystem is to be created. On 8 December 2023, the Federal Council adopted a corresponding package of measures and issued mandates.

The linking of data offers great potential for society, the economy, science and administrations. However, uncontrolled linking would enable misuse and jeopardise the personal rights of those affected. The Federal Council therefore wants to create data spaces for various sectors (e.g. health, energy, mobility, foreign policy, agriculture, tourism) and define rules on how the data may be used.

To this end, the Federal Council wants to create a Swiss data ecosystem and promote it sustainably. The Swiss data ecosystem consists of trustworthy data spaces that can be networked with each other in this system according to clear rules. At its meeting on 8 December, the Federal Council took note of a corresponding overall view for a Swiss data ecosystem.

Interoperable data spaces instead of closed data silos

With the data ecosystem, the federal government wants to prevent so-called silo structures in which data is tied up in one area. Data generates the most value when it can be used and combined for a wide variety of applications. Data spaces must therefore be built to be accessible, i.e. interoperable. This means that efficient collaboration across several subject areas and sectors is possible. For example, data from the education, tourism and migration data spaces could be used to gain relevant insights for the implementation of measures to tackle the shortage of skilled labour in the hospitality industry.

##Digital self-determination as a basic prerequisite

Data spaces give people, companies and organisations better access to data. Trust-building principles are needed for such data spaces to emerge. Digital self-determination is a basic prerequisite for this. Users should be able to trust a data room by retaining control over their data and being able to decide for themselves which data they share with whom, for what purpose and for how long.

Federal Council adopts several measures

The Federal Council has adopted several measures to promote a Swiss data ecosystem. The main measures are:

  • Implementation of motion 22.3890Framework law for the secondary use of data”. The Federal Department of Justice and Police will develop a legal basis for the secondary use of data. The consultation draft is to be submitted to the Federal Council by the end of 2026.
  • Code of conduct for trusted data rooms. The Federal Council has approved the Code of Conduct. This is a recommendation for the Federal Administration, but is not legally binding. It serves as a guide for other players from the private sector, academia, civil society and business and is open for them to sign. Compliance with the Code of Conduct contributes to the trustworthy organisation and operation of data spaces.
  • Establishment of a central contact point for the Swiss data ecosystem. This contact point coordinates the development of sectoral data spaces (e.g. health, agriculture, etc.), takes measures to ensure interoperability and trustworthiness and designs central infrastructure components. The contact point will be based at the Federal Chancellery and is expected to be operational by the end of 2024. Operation is expected to cost around CHF 1.4 million per year.

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