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Local News Summary of March, 13th

  • Roche interrupts bowel cancer study after deaths
  • Small cameras to be used as witnesses in a court case in Baselland
  • Police incident in Pratteln caused by FCZ fans

Roche interrupts bowel cancer study after deaths

The pharmaceutical concern Roche has interrupted a clinical study into treatments for bowel cancer following the deaths of four people.

The «modul» study involved using a combination of the drugs «Tecentrig» and «Cotellic» in the initial treatment of metastasised bowel cancer (colorectal carcinoma). Roche has announced that one of the deaths is linked to the treatment, according to the newspaper «Finanz und Wirtschaft». The article said the death was caused by a cardiogenic shock, i.e. when the heart suddenly cannot pump enough blood for the body’s needs. The other three cases were not connected to the treatment but are currently under investigation.

Answering questions from «Finanz und Wirtschaft», Roche said yesterday that the study has been temporarily interrupted on the recommendation of the Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC).

Small cameras to be used as witnesses in a court case in Baselland

The number of cars with small cameras on the windscreen is steadily increasing. Their recordings can provide crucial evidence when it comes to clarifying what happened in an accident. Courts in Switzerland have to decide from case to case whether they accept the recordings, independent from the protection of privacy. A landmark decision is expected about this in Germany next month.

Drivers on roads in Switzerland are frequently seen tailgating, speeding, and phoning while behind the wheel. However, because the police cannot be everywhere, most crimes go unpunished. An example: If a driver overtakes a car to his left by using the right lane at high speed, this is a violation of the traffic laws. Despite this, these crimes often go unpunished due to a lack of proof.

Data protection problems

However, in recent years, many of these misdemeanours have been recorded by so-called dash-cams. These are small cameras which are mounted on a car’s dashboard looking forward out the windscreen. The problem is that making private recordings in public can breach the data protection law. A problem which only German courts realise is that investigators can see footage of innocent people in videos captured from vehicles directly involved in traffic offences.

While such cameras might be welcomed by insurance companies to attract customers with lower insurance premiums, the video-spy in a car can also backfire: The smallest breach of the law can be recorded and in the worst case scenario, the driver can incriminate him- or herself.

Examples from Germany

According to the Federal Administrative Court in Germany, filming third parties is tricky. The court provided the example of a driver in Stuttgart who was proven to have gone through a traffic light signal six seconds after it turned red. He was convicted by the dash-cam of another driver. The court estimated that it was a severe breach of law and permitted the recordings to be used. In Basel-Stadt, there are no court decisions yet about the usage of dash-cams. Baselland, however, is currently using recordings from cams to clarify the proceedings of an accident. Regardless, the permission for such recordings to be used is judged from case to case.

Legally, the use of a dash-cam in Switzerland - under the precondition that the view of the driver is not hampered by it - is permitted. The driver has to be in control of the vehicle at all times and always needs to pay attention to the road and the traffic. Private recordings in public can breach the data protection law. It is not clear whether this is also the case when dash-cam recordings are used as evidence in accidents. This only depends on the circumstances and the judgement of the court. The prosecution department of Baselland confirmed to that recordings have been partially used as evidence. In the city, however, no such cases have so far been heard of.

The prosecution of Baselland is conscious of the problem of using private video recordings as evidence. Therefore, the individual interests are considered in each case. Basically, the more severe a breach of law is, the more probable it is that a dash-cam recording is permitted in a court case. The number of devices is expected to increase massively over the next few years, since such cams only cost around one hundred francs. Data protection in social media, a topic also recently addressed by Mark Zuckerberg, is of high importance. Just as much when it comes to clarifying who committed a road traffic offence.

Police incident in Pratteln caused by FCZ fans

FC Zürich fans sparked a police alert when they pulled the emergency brake on a train in Basel. The police were called to the scene to investigate a potential emergency, but when they got there, they found it was football fans who were responsible, Baselland police confirmed. Some train services were disrupted by the incident.