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Electronic marketing and internet use

Electronic marketing
Are there rules specifically governing unsolicited electronic marketing (spam)?

Yes, sending spam is prohibited by the Act against Unfair Competition and, as such, is subject to criminal penalties. According to the act, anyone will be considered to be acting unfairly if they send or arrange to send mass advertising using telecommunications with no direct connection to the requested content and in the process fail to:

  • obtain the prior consent of customers;
  • indicate the correct sender; and
  • refer to an easy, free of charge possibility to refuse.

However, anyone who, when selling goods, works or services, obtains customers' contact information and indicates the possibility of refusal will not be considered to be acting unfairly if they send mass advertising for their own or similar goods, works and services to such customer without the latter’s consent. 

Cookies
Are there rules governing the use of cookies?

Since 2007 the use of cookies has been regulated by Article 45c, Letter (b) of the Telecommunications Act of April 30 1997. According to this article, website operators must inform users about the use of cookies and their purpose. In addition, they must explain how cookies can be rejected (ie, how cookies can be deactivated in users’ browsers). In contrast to EU countries, Switzerland follows the opt-out principle. However, to the extent that cookies collect sensitive personal data or personality profiles, the Data Protection Act applies and explicit consent of the data subject may be required.

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