Feeds

SWIFT to stop processing EU banking data in the US

But not until 2009

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Payments processing body SWIFT will stop processing European banking transactions in the US in 2009. It is planning a restructuring of its network and the building of a new operations centre in Switzerland.

SWIFT has been heavily criticised for allowing US authorities access to records of banking transactions involving European citizens. It was revealed by The New York Times last year that US intelligence agencies were allowed to view Europeans' transactions.

SWIFT argued that it was obliged to comply with US orders because it carried out hosting and processing of information in the US. European data protection officials have condemned the release of the information. European, Swiss, and Belgian data protection authorities all ruled that SWIFT had broken data protection laws in supplying the information without informing bank customers of the US surveillance.

Europe's advisory committee of privacy watchdogs, the Article 29 Working Party, has revealed that SWIFT is being reorganised to lessen the risk of surveillance, but not until 2009.

"The Working Party has been informed of recent measures taken by SWIFT with regard to transparency, as well as its decision to restructure its network," said a statement from the Working Party recounting the business of its meeting last week.

"The new structure foresees by the end of 2009 the creation of a new operation centre in Switzerland. This means personal data in intra-European transactions will no longer be processed in the US operating centre," said the body.

Brussels-based SWIFT is still under investigation by the Belgian Data Protection Authority for potential breaches of data protection legislation.

The European Commission agreed a deal with the US earlier this year on how much SWIFT data US authorities could use.

"The EU will have now the necessary guarantees that US Treasury processes data it receives from Swift's mirror server in USA in a way which takes account of EU data protection principles," said EU Commissioner for justice, freedom and security Franco Frattini in June.

"I welcome the United States' Treasury Department's unilateral representations and the opportunity the Treasury has given the European Union to have its views and concerns duly reflected in the representations."

Even after the new operations centre is built, transactions with a US element will still be processed in the US, and there is uncertainty about the location of processing of other kinds of transaction, the Working Party said.

"EU-US transactions will continue to be processed in the US. With regard to other international transactions involving both EU and non-EU banks the location of their storage is still to be defined."

The group said it approved of the changes in SWIFT. "The Working Party welcomes the clear progress made by SWIFT, especially on technical aspects of compliance with data protection principles," it said.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.