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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 rvw ( 755107 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:07PM (#31047518)

    This is a great thing. US has no fucking business to our banking data or any other thing. The fact that US also did this secretly against a Belgian company is just outstanding and shows the level of hypocrisy going on (just like China secretly accessing Google's data anyone?!)

    I totally agree. This is another reason that we cannot trust the US anymore. Their only interest is their own interest, and everything else they do and say is hypocrisy. They sold out on all of their values. And I mean the US government, including the whole political system, but not all people living there. US business is a very bad factor in the world as well (think of banks), but the US state makes this possible.

  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:12PM (#31047554) Homepage Journal

    I think we are finally beginning to see some of the endings to the technology euphoria that have developed over the past 20 year.

    Frankly, I think the political and other events of the last decade have vndicated technophoria completely. Our democracy, in the United States, is stronger than it has ever been in our lifetimes. This is a golden age for the people to have a voice and it should be held up in history as such.

    We are living through the best of times, and the choices we have before us, about increasing spying and all the other police state crap, serve only to make those choices worse, not better.

    I mean, right now, I can get online and ask, or rather, argue, with anyone who either shares my beliefs or disagrees with them. I can take the whole pulse of the whole nation directly from the communities anywhere, without having to have a middle man of media telling me, honestly, what I want to hear, so they can sell newspapers. Sure, there are times when this polarizes, but I think as people get older, as I have, you learn to keep your own blood pressure down and then come to appreciate all the people, regardless of affilitation, and can, at times, glimpse pieces of the world in its most honest glory, for what it is.

    It's excellent.

    60 years ago, the US government was able to marshall the building of an entire atomic bomb in secret. Could the USA do that today? Could we build something like that today, in secret? I don't think so. The most sinister abuse of our present war, the pictures from Abu Ghraib, went round the internet, all over the place, as did documents leaked and what not. There's just so many things that we can share, and we can know, that we didn't know before. Breakthroughs in communications technologies have always lead to conflicts and wars - the invention of the printing press sparked a number of wars in Europe and the USA, and arguably lead to the reign of terror in France, the American civil war and US Spanish American war, but, the internet is a different sort of animal, and maybe, we can live through or learn to cope with the polarization, and, see the promise of all of this stuff.

    Maybe humanity as a whole, is not so bad after all.

    Maybe, we as a people, are a bit less evil than we or the critics among us, judge ourselves to be.

    Maybe, just maybe, the human race will do just fine.

    I wouldn't trade the internet and computers for anything else, for even a second.

    The hope is worth the angst.

  • by lordholm ( 649770 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:20PM (#31047624) Homepage
    I think you undervalue the fury from the parliament on the fact that the Council snuck the deal through the day before Lisbon went into effect (had it been done the day after, the EP would have had the right to add their amendments to the deal). Lots of MEPs are really really pissed at the Council for this and they really want to flex their muscles against the Council (which I think is a good thing since the EP is accountable to the citizens).
  • by Stumbles ( 602007 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:25PM (#31047658)
    So lets see if I grasp this correctly. The US is willing to hold hostage certain bits of terrorist information over banking data. Hm.
  • by Teun ( 17872 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:44PM (#31047792) Homepage
    Sorry to bust your (probably British) bubble but there was nothing unelected about the guys that tried to sell us out.

    They were all appointed by democratically elected governments.
    So whoever has issues with the action taken should go to their own national representative.

    Or do you want to have an election for every clown in office?

  • by Peachy ( 21944 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:53PM (#31047838)

    I wonder whether the Federal Reserve + CHIPS systems, through which similar transfers are cleared in the US, share pertinent data with EU governments?

  • by beh ( 4759 ) * on Saturday February 06, 2010 @05:25PM (#31048006)

    I like the fact 'the US has threatened to withhold cooperation on terrorist intelligence if the bank data deal now in place is cancelled'.

    At the Munich security conference today they stated that this data is important and it already helped stopping attacks...

    EU politicians would like some evidence of this... ...since the 'US cooperation' so far has never led to them actually give any indication of this.

    Strange kind of cooperation...

    I'm kind of siding with EU politicians who say that this has already opened the door to some degree of industrial espionage, when the US can trace what kind of money flows exist between various companies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @05:37PM (#31048084)

    This is a great thing. US has no fucking business to our banking data or any other thing. The fact that US also did this secretly against a Belgian company is just outstanding and shows the level of hypocrisy going on (just like China secretly accessing Google's data anyone?!)

    Now if they just would get UK out of EU it would actually be quite an intelligent organization.

    The thing that amazes me is that the EU denies because of privacy concerns and then the US tries to negotiate (sometimes called 'blackmail') the deal by withholding intelligence on terrorism!

    And so the issue is quite clear. Give up your privacy else the US will not try to help prevent terrorism despite the US's declaration of a war on terror and its facade of integrity to 'do its best' in that effort.

    I am sincerely bothered that a nation so 'right' about terrorism and its purposes of fighting terrorism, would not do everything possible to prevent it, and would deliberately NOT fight terrorism for petty political purposes.

    And the US wonders why people around the world hate them... It's scary that the rest of the world sees the difference between the words and the actions but the democratic voters of the US are largely unaware. I guess this is partially due to the fact that American Politics are so bipartisan that the focus of questions is on the party and not of the sum of the whole. Thus they have news that relates to how one candidate might be wrong, or another might be corrupt, but none that truly reflects upon or questions the actions of the nation as a whole.

    It isn't a conspiracy theory to say that major media in the US is in cooperation with its corporations and lobbies to make more money; the connections are clear and publicly available. It isn't any stretch of imagination to think that a corporate news source that is directly connected to other forms of business would skew its facts and present information that in ways that would benefit its business. Such wide-scope congolmerate-corporations are complete enemies to truth and competition; the extended shame of it being that the GOP, the party whose members vote to retain small government and market competition continually elects leaders/lawmakers that do not do so and bend over quite easily to corporations.

  • by V!NCENT ( 1105021 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:12PM (#31048278)

    One of the points of pro-EU was that together one stands stronger and that they have did so now makes me like the EU a lot more because it shows that its interest is in the people and not in corruption (partialy, yet or both).

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:50PM (#31049318) Journal

    It is a damned shame how we won the cold war only to become that which we fought against. Might as well change the meme now. Oh well I'll start "In Soviet Amerika bank shares YOU!"

    Seriously though as an American I'd like to say I'm sorry. This really wasn't the country so many of my relatives bled and shed blood for across many a battlefield. Sadly there isn't much we can do since the media conglomerates now own more than 75% of all mainstream news sources and BOTH parties (for those non USA we only have two parties. The others aren't allowed airtime and have NO chance of winning) are all for more big government, more spying, and less freedom for all.The only real difference anymore between D and R is that the Ds kiss the booty of big media, and the Rs love to blow defense contractors, and that's about it.

    So sorry world, we are pretty much circling the drain ATM. Hey it was fun while it lasted, and thanks for all the oil.

  • rsspect (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anonieuweling ( 536832 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:43AM (#31051100)
    Of course the USA respectfully and nicely accepts this disappointing yet semi-democratic decision.
    They threaten Europe with not sharing terrorism related information.
    So we expect a false flag soon?
  • Catch-22 ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by golodh ( 893453 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @07:38AM (#31051630)
    The key issues are: reciprocity and "subsidiarity" versus trust.

    Reciprocity is easy to understand: it isn't there in the current agreements. As in: the US can look at any financial transaction in the EU it likes, the EU cannot do the same thing with financial transactions in the US. If I were on a EU committee like the one described, I'd nix any data-sharing agreement on that ground alone. Can you imagine the US allowing a foreign power to rifle through its citizen's private financial records without getting the same powers in return? No? Then why should the EU?

    "Subsidiarity" is a code-word coined by the EU bureaucracy which basically means that responsibility for something should be put at the lowest possible level: if something can be handled at national level, the EU has no business with it. Sort of like the division of powers between individual states and federal government (guess where they found the inspiration for this one). The same idea applies between nations / states. If some state / nation is capable of fishing for terrorists, then it ought to do so instead of sending off the raw data to another entity for processing, analysis, and monitoring. So why not let the EU trawl through its own stuff (e.g. according to algorithms we provide) and put an agreement in place that they alert us the instant they find anything? That's how policing works (and often doesn't work).

    The "trust" angle is what makes things difficult. Basically the US are developing ways of data-mining financial transactions for traces of unlawful activity (terrorist, drugs-related, or otherwise). That's currently a research area (not in the least because our opponents are very much moving targets and you therefore need to tweak such searches all the time) and it simply doesn't want to let 23 other parties (all EU member states, the EU commission, and one or two EU agencies) know the exact nature of its analyses. That makes absolute sense because with so many parties involved there are bound to be leaks, so the US might as well publish its algorithms on the web if it did. If it does, then any terrorist organization worth its salt will move quickly to hide the exact patterns the search is looking for, rendering the whole exercise rather pointless.

    The next question of course is why the US doesn't want to make its internal financial transactions available to the EU on the same basis. That would remove the pain for the EU. Legal obstacles apart, it's not as if the EU and its members are likely to abuse that. The problem however is that if the EU gets such rights, then *every* other party that's ever approached with a request for data will demand the same. Would you like all your financial transactions to be visible to e.g. China, Russia, India, Japan, Korea, Australia, Indonesia and any other nation we need data from? No? You don't want China to know that you flew to Taipei or that your company sold stuff there? I wouldn't either. So it's best not to put anything like that on the table. Ever. Right?

    So there's the catch-22. We can't afford to offer the EU reasonable (for them) terms for data-access, and if they grow a pair they won't just give us the data either (which they seem to be currently doing).

    Anyone got any bright ideas?

  • by exoQue ( 838810 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @10:16AM (#31052190)
    The current president of the Swiss Confederation is a woman. The current speaker of the Council of States is a woman. The current speaker of the National Council is a woman. What the hell are you talking about?

Reactor error - core dumped!