EU Realizing It Got The Short End Of The Stick In Agreeing To Let US Spy On Bank Data

from the whoops dept

A little over a year ago, the EU agreed to a deal with the US, called the SWIFT agreement, which said that the US could get access to EU citizens’ financial transaction data. This was so that the US could (in theory) better track down terrorists. That’s the story we’re told, anyway. There are a variety of conditions imposed on the US, such as that they have to justify their requests, the requests must be specific rather than general, and that it is limited only to people with “links to terrorist activity.” Oh yeah and any EU citizen is supposed to have the right to find out if the US accessed his or her financial data.

Apparently, an EU Parliament member decided to test this last part out and got a major runaround, in order to keep him from finding out if his data was seen by the Americans. Meanwhile, the Europol Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) complained that the requests from the US to get this kind of data have been too vague (remember, they’re required to be specific) to determine if they’re valid.

Given all of this, it appears the EU is wondering why it’s turning data over to the US at all. As the reporter Nick Farrell notes in that last link, what’s kind of amazing here is that the US has been given access to financial data of citizens of other countries, and you’d think it would be bending over backwards to keep that sort of access. Basically ignoring the very rules it agreed to seems like a good way to completely lose that access.

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Comments on “EU Realizing It Got The Short End Of The Stick In Agreeing To Let US Spy On Bank Data”

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Seth Kriticos says:

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” The saying is completely lost when it comes to international politics.

So after a few years of abuse the EU will (maybe) put a stop to this abusive treaty without much consequence to the US. Meanwhile it’s happily signing the next series of abusive treaty’s, like the ACTA etc. Seems our representatives think we like to be abused?

stderr (profile) says:

"EU" must bre pretty retarded

If they signed an agreement stating that the requests had to be specific, then responded to requests that were vague, why are they complaining? It seems to me that that is the EU’s problem. Further, why on earth would the EU care if a [citizen|resident|pleb] wanted to know if the US government had looked at their financial data? Why wouldn’t the hi-IQ-EU just notify anybody who’s data has been accessed that it’s happened as a means curtailing a US government over-reach of authority? The bigger question is, why did the EU agree to it in the first place? If they’re so concerned about terrorism, why don’t they deal with it themselves?

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: "EU" must bre pretty retarded

i dont think its so much that the folks that signed up for it are doing the complaining… it sounds more like the folks that didnt sign up for it (e.g. newly elected officials, private citizens complaining, that sort of stuff)

but still, it does seem a bit high on the derpatude scale to require that the requests be very specific and then go ahead and grant the requests that come through which are not up to the set standards that were put forth.

as for why the EU would care, would you want a forign nation spying on your citezenry without their knowledge? i mean… if you were a country that actually practiced some sort of protections against such a thing… not the U.S…

and as for the last question.. the only real answer i can come up with is “oooo TERRORISM!!!” trot that out and the whole ‘give up a bit of freedoms for a bit of security’ with some added ‘for the children’ tossed in and you can pretty much get agreement on a lot of stupid ideas

MAC says:

Stupid Europeans

Doesn’t the US have enough weapons in the anti-terrorist arsenal?

I mean, they can track what you’ve purchased; better not be a bunch of ammonium nitrate; where you’ve been; break into your house. I mean come on, what do they want next, the right to waterboard anyone that is suspect?

I personally think they have more than enough stuff to get an organized terrorist group.

It’s the lone wolf that we all should be worried about. Especially a smart one that will use ‘other’ means to procure their choice of mayhem.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Stupid Europeans

Actually, buying a bunch of ammonium nitrate is legal… you just have to show a reason for needing to buy that amount.

One forged document saying that you are a farmer later…. WOW!

It’s about time to realize that terrorists are not stupid. They are not going to try and do the same thing twice, because they know that Americans are going to be looking for them to try that.

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