Switzerland drops plan to require restaurants to track customer contact info

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The Swiss government is dropping plans to require restaurants to track the contact information of patrons after blowback from privacy advocates, according to The Associated Press.

Some restaurants found the rule overly burdensome and potentially threatening to personal privacy. The government is now recommending restaurants collect contact information, but are not requiring it.  

“Customers will be invited to participate, give their names, but it will remain voluntary, optional, with regard to data protection,” Swiss Home and Health Minister Alain Berset said at a Friday news conference, according to the AP. 

Hours before the government reversed course on the issue, Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner Adrian Lobsiger told Le Temps, a Swiss newspaper, that he wasn’t sure how the government could legally enforce the policy. 

“It’s not ideal, I’ll admit,” he said.

“Creating such an obligation, even with a solid legal basis, is not good insofar as there’s naturally the risk that people will provide false information.”

The switch in policy comes as the country, along with the rest of Europe, navigates reopening its economy after mass closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Swiss restaurants still have to obey mitigation rules, such as limiting groups, with the exception of families, to no more than four people and distancing tables by at least two meters, among other measures. 

As of Friday afternoon Switzerland has confirmed more than 30,200 cases of coronavirus and reported 1,810 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins. 

Tags Coronavirus Privacy reopening economy Social distancing Switzerland

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