Swiss vote for spy powers

Switzerland has decisively voted in new surveillance laws granting the country's law enforcement agencies powers closer to those in other western nations.

The referendum vote passed with a 66.5 per cent majority on a low voter turnout, carried notably on the back of positive sentiment from the country's older voters.

The laws were pitched as a means to enable surveillance agencies to do their job, rather than catch-call monitoring and data retention akin to the NSA.

Swiss Defence Minister Guy Parmelin told public broadcaster RTS Monday the laws would help the country in “leaving the basement and coming up to the ground floor by international standards”.

Green Party lawmaker Lisa Mazzone accused law proponents of pushing a "campaign about fear" of terrorist attacks spreading through Europe.

Amnesty International said saying that the new laws allow "disproportionate" levels of surveillance that are a threat to freedom of expression. ®

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