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A more modern role

Switzerland has had very strict laws governing banking privacy since about the time of the first world war. Its principles of banking privacy have come under ferocious attack by other governments in recent years, especially from the U.S. and Germany, as part of a drive to increase revenue for beleaguered Treasuries and probably also as a bit of a warning to putative tax dodgers.
I think it is likely the banking laws will change, hopefully in some way which allows the Swiss to save face: it is hard for foreigners to grasp the cultural significance this seems to have for ordinary citizens, even those totally unconnected to the banking sector.
Negotiations about restrictions to privacy have been on and off for the last few years. The negotiations with the US seem to take place in the back rooms of American courts, whereas negotiations with Germany seem to take place via the newspapers. The US process sees ever-increasing damages claims and payments, while the German process is characterized by an escalation of a rather spiteful back-and-forth exchange of tabloid headlines, fueled by the feisty quotes and antics of politicians playing to their electorates.
A while ago, data files copied from Swiss banks were purchased by state revenue departments on the black market in order to find and prosecute tax dodgers. This has driven home the importance of data protection as a requirement for privacy in other areas of life. Banking privacy laws are ineffective unless the underlying data can be protected.
In a way, I think this avenue of thought may lead to an interesting new role for a fiercely independent country like Switzerland. A chance to remodel the cultural icon of banking privacy into a new and much more exciting story.
Plenty has been written about this, here’s a good example.

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