SWISS voters just recently approved a law that gives insurance companies broad leeway to spy on suspected welfare cheats despite concerns raised about right of privacy.

The measure was passed in a referendum that saw two other proposals - a bid to give Swiss judges supremacy over international courts, and a call for incentives to stop cows' horns being removed -rejected, according to provincial results from the GFS Bern polling firm and public broadcaster RTS.

The poll was part of Switzerland's direct democracy system, in which voters cast ballots on national issues four times a year.

Insurers in the wealthy Alpine nation had long spied on customers suspected of making false claims. But that came to a stop following the European Court of Human Rights ruling in 2016.

The government insisted however, that such surveillance was necessary to curb insurance fraud and to keep costs for all.

Following the European court's repudiation. Bern updated its legalisation in a bid to restore surveillance powers to insurers.

Opponents of the revised law then mobilised the support needed for referendum.

But an estimated 64.7 percent of voters ultimately back the government.

''What the Swiss wanted to show was that the  social safety net is important, but that [for it to work]  we all have to be absolutely responsible,'' Benjamin Roduit of the  centre-right Christian Democratic Party told RTS

Critics argued that the measure was hastily written under pressure from the Insurance lobby and did not seriously prohibit serious, unjustified invasions of privacy.

Legal analysis noted that the law does not prohibit insurers, or the detectives they hire, from recording or filming someone who is on their private balcony or in their private garden. provided those areas are visible from a public space.

Firms also do not need legal approval to conduct surveillance, but only require ''concrete indications'' of a false claim [Agencies]


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