back to article Banks want data pulled from US

The central banks of China and Russia have joined private companies in calling on Swift, the international financial intermediary, to pull all non-US data from America, The Register has learned. SWIFT has found itself caught between a rock and a hard place. The organisation secretly handed over personal data to comply with …

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Uncle Sam is watching you

I'm guessing that the US government gains most of its information about EU citizens through the Passenger Name Record system when they fly to the States, rather than via SWIFT. The typical EU citizen is more likely to visit the US than to wire money, after all.

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Swift

Swift is a goldmine of information, not just for transactions carried out by individuals, but also by companies. This information could be used as part of the 'war on terror', but much more useful is for commercial advantage. Information about the financial transactions of a company might tell you a lot, and perhaps give an advantage to a competitor.

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They have got you!

"I'm guessing that the US government gains most of its information about EU citizens through the Passenger Name Record system"

David, you dont have to wire money yourself to send money to the US. All of us who have a Capital One, MBNA, Amex etc card all have money, and data, flying over the pond. Hands up who has a Mastercard - and where are they based - the US. Our data passes through there, if not our pennies.

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Well something is going to happen

When big money talks, things happen. And big money does not like being spied upon. So my guess is that Swift is going to bend over backwards to comply with the demands and go wherever it takes to ensure continued partnership with yet more big money.

This is one the US is going to lose for sure.

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Anonymous Coward

Compare Citibanks before and after terms of service

Compare the old and new Citibank terms of service :

Old:

http://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/banking/customerinfo/otherinformation/documentlibrary/tc.pdf

"43.3 Data may also become subject to the legal disclosure requirements of other countries."

New:

http://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/banking/info/termsandconditions/general.htm

" 43.3 Data may also become subject to the legal disclosure requirements of other countries.

43.4 You consent to have your Data transferred to other countries (including countries which do not offer adequate personal data protection) and you agree that if Your data is required by another country's laws or regulatory rules to be disclosed to that country's regulators, authorities, or law enforcement agencies, that it can be so disclosed."

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Anonymous Coward

US history of dishonesty

We've been here before...

Back during the cold war, the US persuaded European nations to collaborate with them on building the Echelon spying network, and giving them taps into all our comms.

Little to no-one's surprise, it turned out years later that they'd been abusing that power to conduct industrial espionage against European firms, stealing confidential commercial information and passing it to competing US firms to help them undercut their European counterparts to win big international contracts.

Don't be surprised when this happens again with the SWIFT data. Sure, they'll check it over for terrorist finances, like they claim; but once they've got it, they'll not see any need to discard it once they've done that. It'll end up being passed to cronies of the establishment to help them gain financial advantage just like last time.

Power /always/ corrupts. That's why it's so important never to allow the state to extend its reach too far, no matter what terrible threats they claim they intend to protect you from.

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Anonymous Coward

Uncle Sam is the new 419

I was wondering how the US was going to fill its trade imbalances and now I know, from our bank accounts!

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The truly bizare thing about this..

is if they'd been up front a week or so after 9/11 (you know, when someone, somewhere stilled liked Americans) and said - "Hey do you mind if we have a quick shufty of your financial data, just to see if we can pinpoint the pricks that did this?", the EU and pretty much anyone else would have said, "No problem, go ahead."

But because they're still hiding behind and using 9/11 as an excuse to steal private information, listen in on phone calls, invade innocent 3rd world countries and all that other illegal behaviour - is it any surprise that one or two chaps in Europe are a tiny bit annoyed by the whole thing?

On the other hand if there was anyone in political office with a device we used to call a "backbone", the board and directors of Swift would be sitting in jail right now for illegally divulging financial information on a scale never before imagined.

Put it this way, if we put away hackers who peruse banking information for longer stretches than your average child molester, what do you think would have been appropriate for this lot?

Data thieves that steal a few thousand credit card numbers go to jail for 5-10 years. The guys that gave just about every piece of financial information they had access to, from the population of an entire continent, to a bunch of dodgy characters in black suits get to say it wasn't their fault - the Americans made us do it. And we're fine with that.

International financial transactions. That's not just corporates wiring money back and forth - ever ordered something directly from the US or Canada? Then that would be you too.

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