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back to article EU backs renewal of anti-terror bank scrutiny deal

The EU is in talks to renew an agreement allowing US authorities to scrutinise European banking transactions as part of US anti-terrorism efforts. Existing arrangements dating from 2007 - which existed in much the same form but in secret before then - allow US anti-terror investigators to access European bank transfer …

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"exclusively to anti-terrorism investigations"

Would that be the self same "exclusively" that applied to RIPA here in the UK?

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Grenade

just a question or two

Is this reciprocal? Are the EU able to intercept US bank transaction data?

I suspect that they aren't and that US citizens would not tolerate it, so why do we?

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Stop

Gentlemen's Agreement?

An agreement that lets the Yanks poke their snotty little noses into everyone's bank transfers is hardly an agreement among Gentlemen.

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Hands off our data

Why not let the US make a case to in an EU court (or pass the details to an EU police force) if they want access to the data? Otherwise it will be seen as OTT snooping at best and at worst a way for the US to spy on the activities of EU citizens and companies.

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Big Brother

BB is watching

This is wrong in a number of ways (even though at least now we know about it!)

"The US authorities would continue to temporarily access the relevant data only after legal verification and under strict judicial control,"

What does 'temporary' here mean? Clearly US authorities will make a copy of this data, so who's to know if and when they do delete it, and who will have access (and be able to copy it) in the meantime?

And is the 'strict judicial control' going to be the control of an EU judge in one of the countries the transaction takes place? Or a US judge, in which case they will continue to be allowed to take what they want?

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Megaphone

Goose and Gander or Magnificent Swan and Ugly Duckling

"The EU is in talks to renew an agreement allowing US authorities to scrutinise European banking transactions as part of US anti-terrorism efforts."

Is there an existing, active, reciprocal agreement which allows EU authorities to scrutinise US banking transactions as part of EU anti-terrorism efforts? And if not, why not?

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Anonymous Coward

Jacques Barrot's Treason

Jacques Barrot's job is to enforce *EU* law not *US* law. He cannot decide that US law suits him better and therefore he'll ignore the privacy right and let the US spy on EU bank data.

If there are bank transactions to investigate, then it's for the EU to do it within EU law with EU warrants, in accordance with EU rights.

We've often suspected that spooks from each country circumvent domestic spying laws by getting their buddies abroad, to spy and pass the information over to them, but here Barrot is openly calling for the bypassing of the EU Privacy right! And he is the guy whose job it is to protect it!

Are there any other EU Commissioners that don't want to do their jobs???

Perhaps Neelie Kroes is sick of enforcing EU anti competition laws and wants to apply Indian anti-competition laws instead?

Perhaps McCreevy wants to outsource Internal Markets to Microsoft?

Heck does any of them want to bypass the "No Torture" EU right, to the Guantanamo commander? Seems to me if you wanted to torture, that pesky rights gets in the way.

It's treason, pure and simple, their job is to fight OUR corner, and enforce OUR rights on OUR data. The US has banking secrecy laws for it's people, are you saying that he's not prepared to protect us?

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Anonymous Coward

Hawala

Don't the terrorists all use Hawala and avoid banks? Maybe this has more to do with tax evasion than terrorism.

I didn't know TFTP was so versatile - loading Cisco software images and now monitoring terrorist money.

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Anonymous Coward

Belgium needs to prosecute SWIFT

Time to stop letting the EU coordinate the response to SWIFTs breach of Belgium banking law. The EU was only allowed to coordinate it, because the expectation was it would provide a stronger response.

However Jacques Barrot is clearly out of his depth here. It's like the head of the European Central Bank deciding to let Dick Cheney control the supply of Euro money and hoping for a good result!

He's totally rolled over and is handing over a power he has no legal authority to do. He cannot turn a failure to enforce a law, into the cancellation of that law.

Many of the EU countries have banking secrecy laws, and the EU has no competence to turn over law enforcement to the US. It cannot annul the laws of EU countries and decide to apply the US law over them.

So it's time for Belgium and Germany to take over, start making arrests in the SWIFT case of breaking the banking secrecy law, and reestablish that they are responsible for law enforcement and not Barrot and his middle-managers.

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Anonymous Coward

The plot thickens

Ahh the gruesome details become clearer the more I read about it.

The SWIFT servers will be located in Switzerland, not EU. The warrants will be *American* not European. So the Swiss want blanket permission to comply.

Barrot cannot give blanket permission, he's claiming it is a continuation and hence doesn't need extra permission. Germany disagrees, thinks that the warrant for Germans needs to be German with evidence checked by a German judge.

Other discussions revolve around SEPA, if Barrot gets away with claiming to have the right to giver permission, then he can also claim to have the right to give away permission to SEPA data in Frankfurt, perhaps even on a foreign warrant too.

None of this is within the EU's competence. So he's claiming the only applicable law is the Data Protection Directive.

What happens with BACS data, I assume similar data requests come from the US, but we never find out how those are processed by Uk.gov? So what protections are in place there? I'm wondering if Barrots reach around would open BACS to foreign inspection too.

I also wonder why the US is special in this. Would be give the Japanese? Australians? Canadians? special access? How far does that hole go?

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Big Brother

No protection at all from US Industrial Espinage.

"under legal verification and under strict judicial control"

That is just utterly meaningless, its no protection at all. Judicial controls just mean they say groups A, B and C can access the data, and they are legally verified as being groups A, B and C. So what, it protects nothing.

Its been shown a number of times, the US has committed Industrial Espionage against Europe, yet now they have a back door to all our deals!?!

For example, "The Clinton administration has been accused of shifting U.S. intelligence assets from terrorism targets and toward economic targets to "level the playing field" for U.S. companies competing abroad."

e.g. "The Baltimore Sun, "Mixing Business with Spying," Nov. 1, 1996" Look at reference 2 on this wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_espionage#References

That was from 1996, so before the war on terror ... Also the (current) war on terror is being manipulated into a smoke screen of FUD to hide their other goals.

Its very telling that this is a one way deal. How about Europe monitoring the US banking data? ... no? ... oh I guess that means just European MPs are in the pay of the US spy masters rather than protecting us in Europe from them. It seems there is no protection in Europe from crooked governments and corporations seeking to spy on us for their own gain.

Therefore who is really in power in Europe? ... Since when was Europe just another US state?! ... because that is the way we are being treated but even then its actually worse than this, as we are not even allowed the protection Americans take for granted.

It looks like there's some deeply criminal behavior behind this. Europeans leaders are not protecting European interests so what and how are they gaining out of this, while we all loose out ... Competing with the US is hard enough for our businesses even without opening every business deal (and for how much) to the US to spy on it all. Pitch for a deal, then when its time to renew the deal the US moves in with a pitch lower than European companies because they have insider information. Great. As if we are not at a big enough disadvantage already against larger richer US companies.

Big Brother Icon, because I didn't realize until today, Big Brother is American.

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Jobs Horns

Sounds like a cop-out

What it sounds like is the EU is using the US to do what they can't legally do. I would be surprised if the US did not send data it found in one of it's searches to EU members to use.

This is kind of like the US running surveillance on UK subjects (without a court order of course) when the UK security agencies can't run the same operation and then providing the information to the UK.

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