Skip to content

Creating an ethical and legal governance framework for trustworthy cybersecurity in Switzerland

Researchers Involved

PD Dr. Markus Christen

Prof. François Fleuret

Prof. Dr. Thomas Burri

research areas



2021 - 2023

Creating an ethical and legal governance framework for trustworthy cybersecurity in Switzerland

The project aims to provide data, insights and recommendations on non-technical aspects of cybersecurity. This will help address ethical and legal challenges regarding the securing of digital infrastructures.


Modern society is increasingly dependent on information technology, which explains the importance of cybersecurity. The call for the development of expertise has led to the «National strategy for Switzerland’s protection against cyber risks» (NCS). Its core principles include a) a risk-based approach to cybersecurity, according to which risks cannot be completely avoided but can be reduced to an acceptable minimum, b) a decentralised implementation of appropriate measures, c) a subsidiary role of the state, d) the promotion of public-private partnerships, and e) active communication with civil society, the private sector and policymakers. The central aim of the project is to support these key elements of the NCS through research that provides data, insights and recommendations, with a special focus on non-technical aspects of cybersecurity.


Cybersecurity is characterised by rapid technological developments. The constant appearance of new security holes calls for technical protection measures. Many users feel overwhelmed by the speed of this development; a situation that prevents them from making informed decisions regarding their usage behaviour. The constitutional state too is challenged by this technological change, as democratically-based legislative procedures are not always able to keep up with the speed of technological development. This leads to gaps in governance and legislation, which make it more difficult to achieve effective and democratically supported cybersecurity.


The project has three main objectives:

  1. Identify the regulatory needs in cybersecurity resulting from the mismatch between technological and legislative speed.
  2. Obtain data through surveys of critical infrastructure operators and experts to inform the national cybersecurity strategy.
  3. Establish a governance framework on ethical and legal aspects of cybersecurity for stakeholders in Switzerland.


The project will develop concrete proposals for the Swiss parliament and the administration on how Swiss legislation can address cybersecurity challenges. In addition, guidelines for dealing with cybersecurity dilemmas will be created for government and private actors such as law enforcement agencies, computer emergency response teams, critical infrastructure risk and compliance teams, and cybersecurity solution providers.

Published Articles

Christen M, Gordijn B, Loi M (eds.) (2020): The Ethics of Cybersecurity. Springer, The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology