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EU Committee Says No To Bank Data Sharing 160

krupert writes to let us know that the civil liberties committee of the European Parliament has voted to revoke the data-sharing arrangement by which US intelligence agencies have access to EU banking data via the SWIFT system. The US has threatened to withhold cooperation on terrorist intelligence if the bank data deal now in place is canceled, which it will be next week if the full European Parliament votes in line with the committee's recommendation. US intelligence agencies clandestinely tapped the SWIFT interbank clearing data from just after 9/11 until 2006, when the secret arrangement was made public. After that, Belgium-based SWIFT pulled their servers from the US and set up shop in Brussels, and the US had to negotiate with the EU to keep tapping the data.
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EU Committee Says No To Bank Data Sharing

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  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:12PM (#31047558)

    Well... Yes, frankly.

    We have stronger data protection and personal privacy laws in the EU than those in the US seem to have, and just as important, people here seem to be generally more aware of the need for data protection and privacy after a string of high profile screw-ups. Both governments and businesses do get slapped down from time to time for trying to go too far.

    The balance is still too far in favour of the data miners, and I think as time passes and the consequences become more apparent we will see popular opinion sway further toward protecting privacy. But even today, it's paradise here compared to the US, where even if there are legal safeguards, the executive and intelligence agencies are demonstrably willing to ignore them and then invoke special privilege crap to cover themselves after the fact.

    Bottom line: Why the hell should EU-level bureaucrats kissing US ass give away sensitive data to the US when our laws would normally prohibit such action? Answer: because the unelected guys pushed it through literally within their final hours with that authority, knowing that as soon as the Lisbon Treaty took effect and elected MEPs started to get more power they wouldn't get away with it. The MEPs are now doing their job and fixing this problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:12PM (#31047560)

    At the moment, only a committee of the European Parliament voted against it in a test ballot. The real ballot is on Thursday next week. Up to then, the US American administration (including the US ambassador to the EU and Hillary Clinton) put pressure (including various legal and illegal threats) on the Members of the European Parliament to change their mind. They were already successful insofar that the ballot was moved from Wednesday to Thursday. And as I consider the European politicians as corrupt and ready to betray the basic rights of the European people in order to gain more control over them, I guess the Americans will be successful in getting their SWIFT treaty exactly as they want it.

  • Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Elektroschock ( 659467 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:25PM (#31047660)

    --- Problem ---

    • The current agreement is unacceptable for Europeans and would be interim anyway
    • The US embassador to the European Union, William Kennard blackmailed members of the European Parliament and the leaders of the groups. He has to abstain from interference into the inner affairs of the EU and violated the rules of diplomatic conduct. His black mail attempt was foolish because it is impossible for member states to enter bilateral agreements with the US and that would be an unbearable and illegal act of illoyality. His bluff: 'I am unsure whether Washington agencies would again decide to address this issue at EU level'
    • The European Commission thought they could ignore the European Parliament as the competent body. Currently a new Commission is put into office.
    • SWIFT data is toxic and European financial institutions are very sensitive about this. The use of the SWIFT data for anti-terrorism purposes is fishy.
    • Europeans get nothing in return for the transmission of their sensitive data

    --- Process ---

    Agreement between the EU and the USA on
    the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the
    European Union to the United States for purposes of the Terrorist
    Finance Tracking Program, Rapporteur: Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (A7-0013/2010)

      ---- Scenarios and options ----

    • Restore the honour of the US diplomatic corps by a dismissal of the offender Kennard
    • Interinstitutional deal and adoption (Clinton)
    • Rejection by the European Parliament plenary and renewed referral.
    • Even stronger resolution by the European Parliament than what the Committee proposed, given the latest incidents.

    A rejection is currently likely. See the debate and voting timetable at Seance en direct [].

      ---- Documents ----

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @05:08PM (#31047904)

    I have a funny conspiracy theory for you: :)

    You may know that in Islamic countries, banks have to follow special rules of morale. The stuff that did happen in the US, is highly illegal in e.g. UAE.
    So the theories goes like this:
    The banking crisis did not really affect Islamic banks.
    Which means that the whole banking crisis was the biggest and most successful terrorist attack by Islamic “leaders” yet.
    And it was teamwork with China, who sold you crap that you don’t need, so you buy it with lend money that you don’t have... and is also coming from China.

    Now all we have to find out, is how Islamic banks control China. ;))

    P.S.: Protip: If you took this seriously: *whoooosh* ;)

  • by asaz989 ( 901134 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @05:13AM (#31051166)
    I've been counting the votes: The Socialists and Democrats [left-wing] (184 votes), the Greens/Free Alliance [basically, Greens and stateless minorities] (55 votes), the ALDE [think MUCH less radical libertarians] (84 votes), and the EUL-NGL [hard-left, and Scandinavian Greens] (35 votes) have come out against the treaty. These parties have cohesion rates (according to VoteWatch []) in the mid-90 percent range, and put together are just 10 votes shy of a majority. The UKIP (a British eurosceptic party with 13 seats) seems from the blogospheres to be against the treaty on general principles (we ain't lettin' the EU give away anythin'!), and of the non-inscrits [independents], of whom there are 22, about half are far-left and will thus probably vote against the treaty, bringing opposition slightly into the majority, even without taking into account the rather fuzzy positions of the less extremely eurosceptic parties. Taking into account that, only the EPP (admittedly the largest single party, but still with only 265 votes out of 736) has actually made a clear public statement for the treaty. I don't think the final vote will be much more strongly against the TFTP treaty than the committee's 29-23, but I'm still fairly confident that it will be a thumbs-down.
  • by St.Creed ( 853824 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @07:13AM (#31051550)

    I miss the apologies of the US for stealing data from a foreign, but friendly country!

    I miss the clear statement that such data sharing is mandatory bidirectional!1

    And I would like to have the same transparency about US state Delaware's mailbox-companies financial transactions!

    I forgot who said it, but a politician once said "there are no friendly countries. Only countries whose interests are currently aligned."

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.