A court has overturned an injunction that Swisscom brought against a newspaper that was handed four stolen data tapes last year.
 
The operator revealed last September that an unknown person “motivated by criminal intent” had given backup files containing internal and customer data to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) newspaper.
 
Swisscom filed a criminal complaint but NZZ went on to publish the names of a number of customers in an article in December. This lead to the injunction preventing the newspaper from publishing any further articles.
 
While Swisscom announced this morning that this injunction has been overturned, Berne Commercial Court warned any further piecemeal publication of information gained from these data tapes may constitute a breach of the Unfair Competition Act. According to a Swisscom statement, NZZ has promised not to disclose any more specific client data.
 
The data tapes contained information such as the names, contact details and IBAN numbers of customers who pay by direct debit.
 
Three of the tapes remain in the possession of NZZ, but the newspaper returned the fourth tape to its source. The newspaper told Swisscom the fourth tape has been destroyed.
 
The operator said it is “doing everything it can” to ensure that all data still in the possession of the NZZ is fully destroyed. It added that it accepts the court’s decision and “respects media freedom and general reporting on the subject”. However, it admitted that it did not check all the data sets, which in total contain more than a terabyte of data, because the “comprehensive and time-consuming” task was not “expedient”.
 
Swisscom said it had strengthened security by ensuring that data is stored on a variety of hard disks at distributed locations. A metal detector and X-ray have also been installed at its new data centre in Wankdorf.
 
 

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