Watchdog questions mass US data grab
Terror no excuse for huge bank data scoop
The draft agreement on handing European citizens' bank account details to the US needs tightening up to better protect privacy, according to the European data watchdog.
The agreement was released in draft form by the European Commission last month. It now needs approval from the Council before negotiations with the US begin.
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said it accepted that terrorism meant that the US had to have access to all our financial dealings via SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, based in Belgium). The agreement to give US authorities free reign came in response to the 9/11 attacks.
Peter Hustinx, supervisor of the EDPS, said: "I am fully aware that the fight against terrorism and terrorism financing may require restrictions to the right to the protection of personal data. However, in view of the intrusive nature of the draft agreement, which allows transfers of data in bulk to the US, the necessity of such scheme should first be unambiguously established."
The EDPS said bulk transfers of data should be stopped and some form of filtering at the European end introduced.
It also suggested a considerable cut in the storage time for data which is sucked up by bulk transfers but never actually investigated. It also wants assurances that European citizens will have the same rights over their information held in the US as in Europe.
It further suggested a stronger oversight and supervision mechanisms.
The full statement is here. ®
Rather than passing all this stuff over to the US, why don't us Europeans ask the US what it is they are looking for and search for it ourselves, and tell the US if we find it? That way, we can vet what the US is searching for and we don't end up passing the 99.999% of innocent data to them?
We could even charge the US for providing the service.
Alternatively, is now a good time for everyone to move their bank accounts to somewhere outside the EU to avoid being snooped on?
If the Europeans process this data it will be slightly harder for the US government to leak out data about the financial transactions of European corporates to their US competitors. Commercial support is, after all, the primary activity of most external intelligence agencies.
If the snooping Septics want to keep pushing for this data then the very minimum demand is that all EU states also have unfettered bulk access to all US bank transactions, that will leave the whole plan dead in the water.
Exactly. Tit for tat.
If the US want to see ours, then European states get to to see theirs.
Unless the agreement is 100% reciprocal, then forget it.
If they're worried about 'terrorists' moving money around in Europe, surely Europeans have the right to investigate 'terrorists' moving money around in the US.
There's more history of US citizens supporting terrorist organisations than the other way around.