Post and telecommunications surveillance - the procedure
In pending criminal proceedings or where a legal assistance request is being executed, cantonal and federal law enforcement authorities can issue the Post and Telecommunications Surveillance with a surveillance mandate. The law enforcement authorities decide on the measures to be taken.
Surveillance mandates issued by public prosecutors are subject to substantive examination by a cantonal or federal coercive measures authority. Examination of a mandate consists in checking whether the ordering authority is competent to order a surveillance mandate and whether the mandate is about a punishable act contained on the crime list.
The Post and Telecommunications Surveillance Service orders telecommunications providers to submit the requested data, which the Service then transmits to the requesting law enforcement authority. The Surveillance Service has no knowledge of the contents of the data obtained nor of the particulars of a criminal proceeding.
Basic information on connections in accordance with Art. 21 ff. SPTA. Information given to the prosecution authorities on matters such as: "Whose telephone number is this?" or "Which telephone numbers are registered to this person?" The provision of this basic information is not governed by the same procedural regulations that apply to surveillance activities. In particular, the provision of basic information need not be approved by a court, and the list of offences for which surveillance activities are permitted does not apply either.
Emergency searches and Tracing of convicted persons
As well as for criminal proceedings, telecommunications surveillance measures (Art. 35 SPTA) can be ordered for the purpose of finding and rescuing missing persons such as hikers involved in accidents or missing children.
In connection with the tracing of convicted persons (Art. 36 SPTA), the prosecution authorities can track down persons on whom a custodial sentence has been imposed or against whom a measure involving deprivation of liberty has been ordered in a legally binding and enforceable decision.