Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
EU Government Privacy The Almighty Buck United States

US Reneges On SWIFT Agreement 394

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-changed-our-minds dept.
Windrip writes "It seems the US is not living up to its end of the bargain when it comes to the SWIFT data agreement. When the agreement was signed last year, every EU citizen was guaranteed the right to know if the American authorities had retrieved their banking information, and which authorities had requested the information. Now one European Parliamentarian, Alexander Alvaro says that, once again, the Americans are not honoring their treaties."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Reneges On SWIFT Agreement

Comments Filter:
  • I'm an American... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Palmsie (1550787) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:44PM (#35512290)

    ...and I don't agree with the stance my government is taking. Just in case all the non-US slashdotters go on about how X, Y, and Z America is. It's not all of us, scouts honor =)

    • by mirix (1649853) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:54PM (#35512374)

      Usually people don't hate on average American folk (outside of jest at least), so much as they do the people in power, be it senators or CEOs.

      Although the fact that things like the tea party exist, and there is more than one person that likes ayn rand's books, and GWB got voted in twice, and Reagan is the most beloved president in history... those all make that a lot harder ;-)

      I suppose some groups may be more likely to hate Americans as a group (say Islamic fundamentalists that dislike western ideals), but westerners don't so much, I don't think. There are a lot of things I love about the US, and some very horrible things also.

      • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:02AM (#35512438)

        "Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.'"
        --George Carlin

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        funny story about ayn rand, towards the end of her life she got government help for medical reasons under a pseudonym. She couldn't live up to her own "values". America is full of hypocrites of one color or another. The more stringent the values that they espouse they more they seem to ignore them. Truth is a little bit of tolerance could go a long way.

      • And the fact that you two seem to agree that "The World" consists of European leftists, speaks volumes.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mirix (1649853)

          By American standards, the world is generally a fairly leftist place.

          I think the bulk of non-US /. posters are European or Canadian though, so that is somewhat what I was going for. Not to mention the story is US/EU... I think my statement holds outside of those places though.

          • by KDR_11k (778916)

            The easiest evidence is that the US has no social democrat party and it considers the left/right division to be between liberals and conservatives, both of which are considered right of the center in Europe.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by the_womble (580291)

          Most Europeans are left wing by US standards. So are most Asians. So is most of the rest of the world.

          In any case the objections to Rand, the Tea Party, GWB, and Reagan are shared by most of the right wing outside the US.

          Right wing is one thing, stupid right wing is another.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Alex Belits (437) *

        Usually people don't hate on average American folk

        I do, and I live in US.
        Best of Americans are tolerable, best of the best are even genuinely good, however average ones are nothing short of horrible.

      • You can't blame our citizens. Much of our education is propagandized. If you're curious, do some googling on how Conservative Texas school districts influence what's taught in public schools around the country. A few months ago, they were trying to get Thomas Jefferson scrubbed from history; and he's a Libertarian hero!

        • We most certainly can blame US citizens. You are free to think for yourself, choosing not too is not a defense. In a representative democracy there is much more you can do than just vote. But you know what, US citizens don't care as long as they still get cable.
      • by xnpu (963139)

        We don't hate them just because we don't know them. The Americans we meet on "our" side of the world are unlikely to be representative for the "average American".

        Make no mistake though, it's the Americans that vote their politicians into place, nobody else.

      • ...snip...

        There are a lot of things I love about the US, and some very horrible things also.

        Very true, and I agree wholeheartedly. We've done some great and horrible things, often at the same time. We won't look back on the early 21st century fondly. That being said, the current climate of petulant self-loathing isn't one of my favorite things.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Islamic fundamentalists that dislike western ideals" ???

        WTF, it's bullshit like that creates more mindless idiocy than anything else.

        No-one hates Western "ideals", whether Muslim or otherwise.
        "Ideals" are what SHOULD happen.
        What pisses people off is Western PRACTICEs.

        You know, like blaming EVERY Muslim because some of the residents of a Muslim country take umbrage at you killing all their relatives, or blaming all Muslims for "terrorism" because your government picks a Muslim country to blame for 911 - wi

        • by mirix (1649853)

          When I say ideals, I'm talking about common western things. Women being free to dress like whores, commonplace consumption of alcohol, etc. Things that aren't exactly loved in the more orthodox parts of the Islamic world.

          I recognize the plight of the Palestinians and the suffering of many Iraqis, Afghanis, etc. Indeed there is some cause to be angry at the west for the way they've dealt with things, but that's not what I was talking about. I think people angry as a result of this are more likely to hate Ame

          • Meh, you could say that about more orthodox parts of the Christian world; Utah and Vatican city, etc. The problem is you can't stereotype all 2 Billion Christians that way nor the wide variety of governments and diverse public opinions, the same way you can't stereotype all 1.5 Billion Muslims and their diversity of opinions. Case in point, there are 2x as many Muslims in China than there are in Saudi Arabia.

            • by mirix (1649853)

              Fair enough about the Christians as well, I agree, it was just an example. Paradoxically American Christians seem to be some of the people that see the US as being flawless though, on the world scale. Also I did specify hardass Muslims, not Muslims as a whole.

      • Well they should. The reason our politicians act the way they do... is because it's the way we want them to act.

        As much as I would love to believe that Obama was elected in order to actually do the things he campaigned on--I know most a significant portion of his voters also voted for George Bush.

        The American People:

        - Will have your head on a pike if you touch their government provided health insurance (Medicare)
        - Will recall you if you reduce Social Security benefits.
        - Demand insurance companies cover eve

      • by Baki (72515) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:08AM (#35513542)

        You might be mistaken re. westerners. I feel that in Europe, in various countries (at least Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands) in the past few years the young generation has switched from viewing the US as an ally into viewing it as a threat to the world, potentially even an enemy.

        Of course, the US can do what it wants, it is sovereign. But so are we. Don't expect us to take US bribes and threats any longer in the future in order to cooperate with US policies (waging wars, following insane narcotics/drug policies, intellectual property laws).

        It is the old generation that is still in power, that (in part) is still following the US dictate. In a few years, this will be over.

        And I'm not alone in hoping for an economic downfall into poverty of the US. It may hit us too, but at least the money-bribe-saction bully that the US often is will loose its power.

      • by Tom (822)

        Usually people don't hate on average American folk (outside of jest at least),

        Actually, lots do, though disdain runs a bit higher than hate. Americans are seen as fat, lazy, stupid bastards in most parts of the world, especially western Europe.

        That wasn't always the case, in fact it's fairly new. It started with Reagon (nobody over here in Europe understood how a mediocre actor could become president), got a bit better with Bush Sr. until the first Iraq war, turned into "crazy" during the Clinton impeachment-for-a-blowjob circus and with GWB the US went off the scale in any measureme

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Screw that. I'm American. I don't appreciate the anti-American sentiment--your country, your fuckup people. That's on you, not the US, particularly when it seems there are political reasons to undermine a *justifiably* unpopular treaty from you end.

      I have no clue why the EU would agree to this in treaty form anyways. Really, are you people nuts, or just stroking anti-American sentiment to hide your own stupid decisions?

      I have no clue what the EU would hand over data without review, as the article sugges

      • I don't get it. In Feb 2010 the EU Parliament had voted massively against it. I even sent a message thanking my MEP (who btw voted against it again). Then in July they approved it, with hardly any changes? FFS.

    • Ha! Barack says "Tell it to the hand!"

  • And so what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:48PM (#35512316)

    And what are they going to do about it, send a strongly worded letter?

    Dump a few 100 billion in bonds if you want to kick the US in the jimmy.

    • that's so hilarious, oh god, you made me laugh so hard.....

      yes, please put it in a short letter, no more than 1 page.

    • And what are they going to do about it, send a strongly worded letter?

      Cancelling the agreement ?

      I can assure you, that the EU parliament will be extremely unhappy about this one.

  • A real shame (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bkk_diesel (812298) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:48PM (#35512318)

    I'm not sure where to find a list of treaties that the United States has failed to honor (did a quick search and nothing obvious popped up), but it seems to me that as time goes on the Americans are losing more and more credibility on the world stage. The start of the real decline seemed to happen with the latest invasion of Iraq and really accelerated through the term of G.W. Bush. This is my perspective as a non-American living outside of the United States, but do the majority of people inside the U.S. realize how much they've lost on the world stage over the past decade?
    In a way the decline reminds me of the local police - 30 or 40 years ago the local police were your friend - someone you could go to and talk to and who would be willing to help you out. These days it seems like you're best off staying as far away from the police as possible.
    Does anyone else see things in a similar way?

    • in the grand scheme of things, it's good that you conscientious fuckers die off after 60 or 70 years or else we'd really look like assholes.

    • "This is my perspective as a non-American living outside of the United States, but do the majority of people inside the U.S. realize how much they've lost on the world stage over the past decade?"

      No, probably not the majority. But many of us do. Besides, it's a different world than it was 30 years ago. Our economies are so intertwined at this point it would be near impossible to practice isolationism even if the US wanted to. That being the case people from all over need to see things as they really are

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061)

      I'm also not from the US, and not living in the US (But I am an American, just like all Mexicans, Canadians, Cubans, and any other people living in America, which is a fucking continent).

      I know a lot of people from the US, and I can tell you something, you can split them into three categories:

      - Those that have no idea
      - Those that think they have an idea, but they really don't.
      - Those that have already moved out of the states.

      Think about this: In 99% of the world, "Liberal" is a word used to describe those

      • I'm also not from the US, and not living in the US (But I am an American, just like all Mexicans, Canadians, Cubans, and any other people living in America, which is a fucking continent).

        I know a lot of people from the US, and I can tell you something, you can split them into three categories:

        - Those that have no idea - Those that think they have an idea, but they really don't. - Those that have already moved out of the states.

        Think about this: In 99% of the world, "Liberal" is a word used to describe those in the far right. In the US, that is the far left. The entire world considers the Red October to be one of the most important revolutions in history, a step in the right direction for Russia, and can differentiate between what Marx and Engels thought and what guys like Lenin did, from the barbaric stuff that people like Stalin did. The US thinks that the Red October was a coup d' etat organized by the evil reds. Around the world Communism means "YASPS" (Yet another Socio Political System). In the US, it means the devil's work. Less than 2% of US citizens are actual Atheists. Around the world, the world "Evangelical" is sort of an insult, the religions that are stock in the US are considered cults around the world, and mostly frowned upon.

        Try talking to someone from the US that considers himself "leftist". You'll realize that, hadn't he told you so, you would consider him to be on the far right.

        All governments are evil, the difference is that the US has the support of 99% of all its citizens. They have truly drank all of the Kool Aid.

        What the hell are you smoking?

        First.. for the last damned time... North America may be a continent, but the name of the country is the United States of America. We're Americans. You're not. Period. Mexicans come from Mexico. Canadians from Canada. Cubans from Cuba. Words bloody mean something.

        As the rest of your post hangs on the idea that the only people who haven't left the US are morons it wouldn't seem to be worth replying to. You're either deeply clueless yourself, or a fair troll.

      • by angus77 (1520151)
        Yes, why don't Americans realize that those of us in the rest of the world have one homogeneous worldview?
    • No, the local police here went from being complete thugs to a mix of sexist assholes (of both sexes) and decent people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Interesting question. I'm 40, live i Norway - a socialist democracy (you know... what most Americans associate with Hitler.. sigh...).

      When I was younger, I and everyone I knew lover America. We we happy to have a superpower that also was a beacon of freedom and democracy.
      Today, as you middleclass crumble and you have lost control over your own politicans, you don't even revolt. Is the propaganda that effective?

      I find it hilarious that poor right-wingers voted to let the rich not pay taxes (compared to avera

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      This is my perspective as a non-American living outside of the United States, but do the majority of people inside the U.S. realize how much they've lost on the world stage over the past decade?

      It was a talking point during one of the President's speeches. It's not a secret. Whether people care or not is another point. And while some agree US citizens agree with the general sentiment, for others the general vitriol that comes the US' way is fodder for politicians. It makes it really easy to play "us vs. them" which is just another form of fear-mongering that oils the current political machine (on all sides of any given aspect of politics).

    • by CliffH (64518)
      Here's a small list to start with of treaties which weren't honored: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_treaties_did_the_US_break_with_native_Americans [answers.com] To the other part of your post, being an American who has been living outside the US for over a decade, it's very interesting seeing the world perspective versus the US perspective in things like the news. As a little homework assignment for all Americans, watch the news over the next few days. After watching, try to find similar stories from other countri
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As a little homework assignment for all Americans, watch the news over the next few days. After watching, try to find similar stories from other countries and see how they report it..

        Well, I watch a little Faux News and CNN to see what the Liberal and Conservative Spin happens to be, then I usually turn on the BBC and Al-Jazeera to get some perspectives from Europe and the Middle East, and will also tune into some Japanese or Korean stations and get some Asian perspective on things. Overall, it seems like the Europeans bitch about everything we do (or don't do) but focus mostly on war and the environment, the Middle East bitches about anything related to Israel or religion, and Asia usu

    • Cops were better forty years ago? I'm guessing you're not black.

    • by 1u3hr (530656)

      I'm not sure where to find a list of treaties that the United States has failed to honor

      Just about every treaty you made with the Native Americans.

      And I'm pretty sure the Geneva Convention is being ignored in Guantanamo .

    • by sa1lnr (669048)

      In a way the decline reminds me of the local police - 30 or 40 years ago the local police were your friend - someone you could go to and talk to and who would be willing to help you out. These days it seems like you're best off staying as far away from the police as possible.
      Does anyone else see things in a similar way?

      Do you mean back before the general public had access to miniaturised sound/video recording equipment
      and the vast communications networks we have today?

      I can tell you from personal experience that the police have never been your cuddly friend

    • by Tom (822)

      I'm not sure where to find a list of treaties that the United States has failed to honor (did a quick search and nothing obvious popped up),

      Search for "treaties the US is a member of". They are famous for playing only as long as it is to their advantage. One of the most popular examples is that the US is years behind in is payments to the UN, and has been for a very long time.

      do the majority of people inside the U.S. realize how much they've lost on the world stage over the past decade?

      I think the majority of people inside the US don't realize that there is a world stage. There are a couple famous videos on YouTube where most of the random people interviewed on the street couldn't find places like Iraq or Afghanistan on a fucking world map that was shown

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      In a way the decline reminds me of the local police - 30 or 40 years ago the local police were your friend - someone you could go to and talk to and who would be willing to help you out. These days it seems like you're best off staying as far away from the police as possible.

      Actually, that depends. If you aren't white and are male, then generally speaking the local police hasn't been a friend to you or your family. Ever. It doesn't matter if you're a respected academic [boston.com], walking down the street minding your own business [youtube.com], or standing in front of your home [wikipedia.org].

  • by Blackeagle_Falcon (784253) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:51PM (#35512336)
    TFA talks about Alvaro's efforts to obtain information about U.S. access to his account data from the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BFDI). From the article BDFI seems to be some Kafkaesque bureaucracy. He submitted the original request in October. After repeated requests for more and different personal information, the BDFI finally forwarded the request to the U.S. authorities at the beginning of this month. The hang up here does not seem to be on the American side.
    • by DougF (1117261)
      And....Europol has agreed to every request, so I'm not sure where the "failing to live up to the treaty" language is coming from. If there aren't mechanisms built into the treaty on how to retrieve this information in a timely manner, blame those who signed it.
    • How is it misleading? Do you have information that BFDI was the ones holding up the request?

      It might very well have been the American side that kept demanding better identification, account activity, etc. (That BFDI didn't officially 'send' the request doesn't mean they didn't try getting the asked for paperwork done)
  • The European Parliament is so gullible, a few handwaving promises about the US handling the data according to EU rules and the EU developing its own storage system with the purpose of exporting data in a more controlled manner "within five years", and they drop all previous opposition...

    • by mysidia (191772)

      The European Parliament is so gullible, a few handwaving promises about the US handling the data according to EU rules and the EU developing its own storage system with the purpose of exporting data in a more controlled manner "within five years", and they drop all previous opposition...

      If they have a shred of guts in their entire body, then they'll take the US failure to uphold their end, and stop upholding their end / shut down whatever systems thay are providing that are not being used as agreed.

      If

    • I simply don't get it. A hundred deputies or so still voted against, but the majority changed their vote inexplicably.

    • Re:Big surprise (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jandersen (462034) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:23AM (#35513380)

      Gullible? Perhaps that is what you would call it; personally I think it is about being friends - friends don't ask for guarantees cast in iron, they trust each other. We in Europe have tended to see America as friends at least sine WWII.

      "Gullible" implies that we should have known better; that America is not a friend, but at best a predator with a false smile, and at worst an enemy. Is that really the case?

  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:54PM (#35512376) Journal

    We have altered the deal. Pray we do not alter it further.
        -- Obama

    • If only that were so. I could accept Evil compared to what I see...

      "Meh, ______ (sporting event) is more interesting" - Obama

      Tsunami and Earth Quake hit Japan - "Meh"
      Muslim world in turmoil - "Meh"
      Economy Collapsing - "Meh"

      • I hear fiddling while Rome burned was popular too.

        On one hand, there is always some crisis somewhere that *requires* immediate attention. It is conceivable that the man is burned out, numbed, or tired. What more, several months into the office, you probably find that you really don't have the power / influence / friends you thought you did, like being trapped on a roller coaster ride you can't get off, so you just have to grin and bear it.

        On the other hand, these are *important* matters that can potentially

    • by evilviper (135110)

      You've got it backwards, actually. The US is a bit odd in that it's content to be everyone else's scapegoat. Consider China the polar opposite, which won't accept the slightest public criticism, even when they amply deserve it, and more...

      In short, yes the US uses it's influence to get what they want. Do you think any politician would have a career if they signed up to give the US everything they want, no strings attached? But how about if they made a deal that sounds good, only to have the big bad US b

    • It doesn't seem like anything was altered. From the article, the guy was harassed for a few months by some German agency, the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BFDI), that finally forwarded his request to an (unnamed) American agency that didn't even have the information to begin with. Apparently (and I'm just going from what I read in the article here) his German commissioner should have requested from somewhere else.
  • by mykos (1627575) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:59PM (#35512418)
    Seems our government uses the above response quite often when questioned by the international community.
  • I don't understand why the BFDI needs to ask the US for this data. If Europol are vetting the US requests, shouldn't they be keeping track?

    • by xnpu (963139)

      How would that help? The US would just proxy everything through a friendly-sounding US agency and the Europeans would have no way to really now where the data ended up.

  • As an American citizen who's used SWIFT transfers, I'm curious whether I have the right to know if American (or any other) authorities have retrieved their banking information. Is that something that could be gotten through a Freedom of Information Act request?

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:12AM (#35512494) Journal

    Stop me if I make any mistakes here...

    When another country does something that the USA doesn't like, the USA gets all up in arms about it and either invades the nation with the intent of "setting them free", or else they impose quite intense political and/or economical pressure on the nation to comply with their expectations.

    When the USA does something that another country doesn't like and the other country dares to point this out, the USA basically goes "Meh." Because they figure that there's squat all that anybody else can do about it.

    Just wanting to be sure I know where things stand.

    • by PPH (736903)

      Just wanting to be sure I know where things stand.

      We have more bombs than you do.

      • by muphin (842524)

        Just wanting to be sure I know where things stand.

        We have more bombs than you do.

        but are you smart enough to know how to use them? the US is well known for "friendly fire".
        and p.s most of the bombs dont work :p

      • by qmaqdk (522323)

        The world's great hope and shining light of good, indeed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, there is one country in Europe that doesn't take shit from the USA: Switzerland.

      First of all, Switzerland must be the only country who realized the USA is arming itself to conquer the world .While the USA keeps claiming that future conflicts will be against terrorists and fought against guerrillas, they still arm themselves with weapons designed to fight armies, like the Navy's railguns. I don't know why nobody else noticed this discrepancy, but the Swiss certainly did.

      Second, the Swiss are prepa

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:39AM (#35512638)

    That feeling from when I was a kid that there was anything remotely honorable about my country's conduct.

  • Bullies... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by suss (158993) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:48AM (#35512674)

    Bullies rarely keep their promises.

    That's what the US has become to the rest of the world; nothing more than bullies.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:19AM (#35513808)

    This is a very badly worded headline, obviously intended to promote anti-US sentiment when the article itself does nothing of the sort.

    I'll distil it for those who still can't be bothered to RTFA after I've said it's worth reading:

    "Alexander Alvaro has spent some time trying to determine whether or not his bank details have been accessed by contacting the regulator in his own country (Germany). The regulator stalled him for several months by requesting ID in various formats, and hadn't even forwarded the request to US authorities until shortly before the article was written. The regulator confirmed that they don't hold this information themselves."

    We have no evidence that the US authorities were approached earlier and that they're responsible for the stalling, we have no evidence to explain how long it takes for such requests to come back (it was only sent earlier this month, for all we know it's sent via snail mail). And to cap it all we have no evidence to suggest that the journalist responsible for this article thought to contact German authorities and ask the reason for the delay. The best we have is:

    At the beginning of this month, the BFDI confirmed that Alvaro's request had finally been sent to US authorities [....] The agency criticized that the person requesting information about how personal data has been used must submit additional personal information in order to learn whether the US has made use of their data.

    To me this suggests it's possible the journalist approached them and received a non-answer. But it's equally possible that the journalist is paraphrasing a form letter received by Alvaro saying "Dear Sir, we've sent your request to US authorities, apologies for the delay".

    • by djmurdoch (306849) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @07:04AM (#35514350)

      I don't think that's an accurate summary. When describing the delay, the article says "There was, still no agreement between the US authorities and the BFDI. The American authorities would require still more data from the applicant." That sure sounds as though there were discussions taking place with the Americans, and the Americans were unclear or inconsistent about what was needed.

      There's also the quote from the MEP, ""The German authorities have not yet been able to find out whether data has been accessed at all. As such, the rights of EU citizens on correction, deletion or blockage of the data are being violated."

      And the headline of the original article: "Problems with Transparency. Brussels Eyes a Halt to SWIFT Data Agreement"

      So I think in this case Slashdot got the anti-American sentiment of the article about right.

Remember, UNIX spelled backwards is XINU. -- Mt.

Working...