The European Parliament recommended that the only way to stop US anti-terrorist investigators from illegally snooping on European financial transactions is to get Swift to pull its data from US shores.
Perhaps I'm being naive here, but surely Swift broke the law, and should reasonably have known that it was, by transferring data to a place where it could reasonably have known that it could not protect it in accordance with European data protection rules.
I rather suspect that if the story had "China" instead of "US" then the outcome would have been somewhat different, but the principal is the same.
The answer is quite simple, if a little inconvenient for SWIFT - it should not transfer data outside of the EU where it cannot guarantee it's sucurity. If the foreign law is such that it can't refuse to divulge information illegally, then it shouldn't put the data there in the first place <period>.
Whilst it's easy to see a situation where international bodies have to keep different data in different places, this is a price they have to consider when choosing what countries to do business in - they alway have to options of staying out of a country if it causes them too much inconvenience.
"Europe might not get anywhere fast by pursuing a political solution. Though it has agreed that the US investigation has offended European data protection, human and fundamental rights, it cannot get oversight of US Treasury's subpoenas on Swift until it forms an overarching, transatlantic privacy and data sharing agreement."
Screw that. The US Government has been playing fast and loose with human rights ever since the collapse of the USSR (and probably before that, but at least previously they had the decency to hide their rapacious appetite for data which they have no business seeking). It's time for the EU to play hardball: Freeze *all* US funds which are under control of European agencies, both by EU governmental agencies and private businesses, until the US agrees to a European-designed human rights and privacy guarantee package.
And as an American, I would fully support any move to force the US Government to guarantee privacy. It would be a lovely change.
Can anyone tell me when it became fashionable for sovereign countries to just bend over and take it in the arse from America just because it decided it wants all our data? How about other countries demanding their data when it is stored on our soil? How about showing some resistance and telling these institutions that they have to change the way they work or risk nationalisation [not that that necessarily would be a good thing].
Ever since the attacks in New York, the US has happily put its foot in the door of every agency on the face of the planet it could force itself onto. Why is that? What makes the US so special that they can do all that without someone equally as concerned about -our- national security telling them that it's just not on?
The supposed threat of terrorism is meaningless and forms a pitiful excuse to justify onerous requests of unimaginable amounts of data that weakens other countries' interests.
The couple of thousand people who regrettably died on that day in September are a cost of living in the global village. But their numbers pale next to the amount of people who die on the streets every year [89000 last year by official Chinese records] and the legions of people who succumb to the deadly effects of smoking cigarettes. If these problems were treated with the same gravitas as terrorism is we would all live in prison. It seems as if the terrorist attacks were a very convenient excuse for grabbing sensitive information and to try and regulate and control the lives of ordinary citizens who can do very well by themselves without government oppression, thank you very much.
Re your Register article titled "'Pull European data from the US'", here in Canada we're worried that the solution proposed by the EU (not having the data stored within the US) actually does not solve the problem. Also, from our understanding this goes far beyond just financial-related data.
In reviewing the US anti-terrorism legislation in regards to our FOIP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy) Act in the province of Alberta, our understanding was that the US government could compel US companies to hand over ANY type of data they were managing, no matter who owned the data or where it was stored. This meant that outsourcing of any services to a US company (or any Canadian subsiduary of a US company) could result data stored in Canada being accessed by the US government if they so demanded it.
Even worse, beyond the Catch-22 situation, the US government could demand the company to not inform the owners of the data that the US government was accessing it, even across internation borders.
The US is our good neighbour, ally, and friend, but we are afraid, very very afraid.
And still with the US, and data protection, and being afraid, it emerged that the UK Treasury knew of US hunt hrough British bank data.
Has anyone mentioned this to the FSA? I'm assuming the appropriate 980,000 quid fine is on its merry way to the Treasury.
After all if an employee losing a laptop is worthy of sever punishment, what does allowing American ne'erdowells access to an entire bank's records merrit?
No doubt all those affected will be offered the usual free Identified as Terrorist (the ultimate identity theft?) protections, including a free copy of the US Terror Watchlist, a copy of the "what to do if the Americans think you're a terrorist" leaflet as well as free monitoring of their credit card and bank accounts for suspicious activity - no wait, they're already on top of that one.
Although, this reader has a slightly different view:
The only thing that comes from scrutiny of international financial transactions is arrest of criminals and a lot of B.S. whining from clueless people who think investigating criminal activity is the real crime. There is no law that guarantees anyone total privacy nor should there be.
To the clueless whiners I say: Kiss my ASS -- and be thankful the U.S. is making an effort to stop terrorism before additional tens of thousands of innocent people are killed by the scum of the earth, aka terrorists. The EU and other countries first obligation should be protection from terrorist not establishing roadblocks that assist terrorists. The privacy whining is complete B.S.