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EU Government Privacy The Almighty Buck United States

US Reneges On SWIFT Agreement 394

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."
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US Reneges On SWIFT Agreement

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  • 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.

  • 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 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

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@@@nerdflat...com> 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:19AM (#35512526)

    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 suggests Europol is. That's on the EU governments/agencies, not the US.

    I have no clue why the BFDI didn't even bother to at least tell the citizen/gov member what data was handed over. After all, they or some EU member agency handed it over to the US, so they know *what* data was handed over. They don't need the US to inform the citizen of that. The US not revealing what agency revealed/reviewed what in that file IS important, but your own gov should be able to tell you that at least your data was accessed, and they seemed really like they didn't even want to do that--again, that's on the EU, not the US

    The BFDI didn't even seem prepared to handle this request in the first place. Just maybe they aren't contacting the right folks across the pond either.

    Lastly, and the point of the article, the US probably isn't honoring the agreement. Not much proof though given outside an agency that was ill-prepared to handle a request in the first place. But given the buffoonery of approving the treaty, providing data info to their citizens regardless of American action which they can certainly do, and the delay they caused on their own end, wow...seems the point of this, whether true or not, is the treaty is going to get pulled.

    And as an American, or particularly if you in the EU, why the phrack is that a bad thing again? You should never have approved the treaty in the first place. If American stupidity or laziness means the treaty is pulled, then good, since you never should have agreed to this shit anyways. Your nation is your nation--quit handing over your info to some other nation out of your control, even if they may be nice, friendly, and a strong ally. Do investigations on your end, and if there's an issue, then turn that crap over to your ally.

    Damn, I'd be pissed if my banking info was handed over to someone in Spain. Particularly, I'd be upset my gov was lazy and didn't want to do the investigation internally, and handed over info with no control over oversight or rights to a country I have little to no rights in if I'm not IN the country. Why would you in turn do this to your own citizens?

  • 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.

  • Re:A real shame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etreufamla>> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:55AM (#35512708)

    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.

  • by mirix ( 1649853 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @01:08AM (#35512768)

    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 syousef ( 465911 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @01:10AM (#35512772) Journal

    Grow up, there is evil and corruption everywhere. EVERYWHERE


    Yes but when's the last time evil and corruption in the UK or Australia or Zimbabwe had a direct effect on you? The US has enemies because the US has influence. Very few nations -China and India come to mind - have policies that will affect so many people's lives and their influence is usually still limited to their own borders.. The EU as a conglomerate of nations also has power. But the US seeks to have more influence outside it's borders than pretty much any other nation.

  • Re:A real shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @01:28AM (#35512858)

    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 average joe). The propaganda surely is working.

    However, even here, and especially in EU, the same stuff is happeing. We are about to face a world where being a human does not matter unless you have money. This will bring down the western civilisations eventually, if it continues.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @01:34AM (#35512876) Journal
    The problem with Ron Paul is this: people would rather have an unprincipled representative who does what they want, than one who is principled and does what they don't want. If you think about this, you'll realize, as depressing as it sounds, it's a fairly reasonable position.

    I like Ron Paul. As far as I can tell, he sticks to his principles. However, I don't agree with what he would do if he were elected president. I don't think the US should be isolationist, and I don't want to go back to the gold standard. I'm not certain that abolishing the fed is a good idea (although recently they have seemed to slide back to their traditional position of ineptness).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @01:40AM (#35512902)

    "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 - with NO EVIDENCE at all.

    Or turning a blind eye while Israel commits genocide in Palestine and then vetoing any condemnation by others. Or not having a problem with THEIR nukes, but berating Iran for nuclear power.

    It's the hypocrisy and "do as I say, not as I do" mentality that pisses us ALL off about the US.

    It's interesting watching Japan's nuclear probs and thinking about how the US has no problems with THEIR nuclear industry, despite their public admission that they WOULD like nuclear weapons and despite the history WW2.
    Iran has invaded NO-ONE, but aren't allowed the energy, let alone nukes to protect them from Israel - who ARE invaders and killers.

  • Re:A real shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:36AM (#35513434)

    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 usually only really bitches when it's about Economics.

    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]

    I find this to be the perfect example of why Americans are really tired of listening to the whine. First, those treaties were with people in our own country, not others, and just FYI to the world that story isn't even over yet. We STILL are working stuff out in the court systems with various Tribes.
    But the reason I bring it up is because if you're going to dig back to the 1700 and 1800, then it's only fair to do the same thing to the countries which are giving us criticism. And most of them have a MUCH more sordid history, and in all the exact areas that the world bitches at us. Unbridled expansion at the expense of the Native populations, raping the environment, slavery, murder, extortion, broken treaties, you name it and I'll show you a country on every continent that has committed all those crimes to a much worse degree than America.

    So to be blunt, those who are critical of us really need to take a long hard look in the mirror. Because the Truth is that the US has not cornered the market on being a bunch of stuck up, arrogant assholes. Although we DO have plenty of them, I'm not denying it. I just really think a lot of people have a pretty skewed sense of what's been going on in the world over the last 100 years.

  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:52AM (#35513700) Journal
    Yeah, but as a European who has lived in the USA, I have to say that the disconnect between the general honesty and politeness of the US people and the actions of the government is very striking. It's all but inexplicable until you turn on a TV and see what passes for news in that country. The American people in my experience are polite, generally nice, and massively uninformed / misinformed. Most US citizens if made aware of this behaviour would, I believe, take the attitude of "if we say we'll do something, we should." Even the ones who don't agree with the act are likely to be of the opinion that the US simply shouldn't have agreed to something it wasn't honestly intending to do.

    I liked it when you overthrew British rule. You were the best you'd ever been, then. I would love to see a return of that willingness to act.
  • by petman ( 619526 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @06:01AM (#35514040)
    The Americans overthrew British rule for their own interests. It had nothing to do with The Greater Good. This selfish character persists until today and has a lot to do with why a lot of people hate the USA's guts. Point of fact is that as great a document the US Constitution is claimed to be, it is arguable that although it gives great protection to the citizens of the United States in important areas, it says nothing about how the United States government should treat the governments or citizens of other nations.
  • 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.

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