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Survey: Swiss fear for safety since July terror attacks

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Survey: Swiss fear for safety since July terror attacks
Flowers in Ansbach, where a suicide bomber injured several people. Photo: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/DPA/AFP
09:31 CEST+02:00
Some 75 percent of Swiss fear more for their safety following the recent attacks in France and Germany, according to a new survey.
The survey, carried out by newspaper 20 Minutes, asked more than 18,000 people across the country how safe they felt following the events of recent weeks, including the terror attack in Nice on July 14th which killed more than 80 people and the suicide bombing in Ansbach, Germany, 10 days later. 
 
Some 75 percent of respondents said they felt less safe than before. 
 
Consequently, 64 percent said they would be willing to give up some of their personal freedom to enhance their security in Switzerland, found the survey.
 
Among the extra security measures cited, 29 percent said the country should boost intelligence and surveillance, 27 percent thought there should be more police and army personnel in sensitive areas, while 20 percent wanted the intelligence service to step up preventive surveillance.
 
Only 11 percent said they didn't think the country should put in place any additional security measures. 
 
Political analyst Fabio Wasserfallen, who examined the results, said the fact people were unresistant to the idea of increased state surveillance was a “remarkable” change in attitude.
 
“Most people have understood that they cannot prevent terrorism themselves and look to the state to do it,” he said.
 
The survey is an indicator of public opinion ahead of the September 25th referendum on changes to the Federal Intelligence Act. 
 
Aimed at boosting intelligence in the face of terrorism, the changes would give the Swiss intelligence service (NDB) more powers to gather information, including the ability to monitor, record and analyze the private conversations of citizens. 
 
The federal government is supporting the changes, saying they “provide the NDB with the modern resources it needs to fulfill its task of safeguarding the security of our country”.
 
The NDB will only be able to use the new measures if it complies with strict conditions, it said.
 
But many are against the changes, with the Socialist Party (SP) saying the new law would “open to the door to state snooping” on people's private lives. 
 
More information doesn't mean more security, it feels, pointing out that many of the recent attacks have been carried out by people already known to police in some way. 
 
However Beat Arnold, an MP for Switzerland's largest party, the Swiss People's Party (SVP), agrees with the new changes, writing on the party's website: “There is no freedom without security. Switzerland needs this law”.

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