Online sales have expanded drastically over the last decade. In Switzerland, it is estimated that 90% of regular internet users have shopped online at least once. In light of this societal evolution, governments and legislators have needed to adapt and legislate. The European Union has adopted specific legislation, whereas the Swiss legal framework applicable to online trade is contained across a number of different, existing acts.
While there is a global increase in the protection of privacy and personal data, consumers continue to increase their purchases of goods and services online. This involves at least the communication of the individual’s name, address, email and banking details.
This newsletter aims to provide a brief overview of the data protection aspects of online trade in Switzerland, with specific comparisons to the EU directives and regulations that are in place in the same field.
Online sales, or electronic trade, refers to “any transaction involving goods or services where digital electronic communication performs an essential function”.
The legal framework of electronic trade varies between the EU and Switzerland.
In the EU, there are several directives specific to online trade; the most important of which are Directive 2000/31/EU on online trade and Directive 2011/83/EU on consumers’ rights.
In addition, the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) applies to all aspects of personal data collection and processing.
On the other hand, in Switzerland, there is no specific legislation for online trade. It is indeed considered that the Code of Obligations (“CO”), the Federal Act on Data Protection (“FADP”), the Federal Act against Unfair Competition (“LCD”) and the Federal Act on Consumer Information suffice to provide a framework for both suppliers and to protect consumers.