back to article Europe moves to curtail US data snooping rights

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on whether the US government should continue to get free access to European bank and financial data under the SWIFT agreement. The US claims it needs access to our bank accounts in order to fight terrorism - it has had free access since shortly after 11 September 2001. But …

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Poor record

The US has a poor record in any kind of data security. We should give them as little as possible.

Instead of trying to convince us that they need all our private data, maybe they should spend a few hours thinking about why everyone hates them so much.

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Good stuff out of Europe...

Problem is that if the MEPs really reject this, then the US have already threatened to try and reach bi-lateral agreements with the EU member countries.

And if that happens, the UK is going to bend over like the partner in the "special relationship" it is.

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Grenade

National law irrelevant

The snooping is about SWIFT transfers - all European (and for the US more interesting Middle East) cross-border transfers have been running through SWIFT servers in Belgium since 1st January. Any bilateral agreements will be illegal as data protection is already an EU issue (doubly so in the case of cross-border transfers) which is then expressed in national legislation as the recently passed law on cookies.

My guess it there will be a flooding of the market with CIA infected USB sticks. These will, of course, in turn contain back doors reporting to Chinese systems... Not that it would make much difference as the spooks can be relied upon to ignore the important stuff and continue to bomb the little guys

"Ideology also has a lot to do with idiots" - Chris Morris

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US Special Partnership

I'm not too sure that the current US President has anything like the same feeling for Britian that previous one had.

Our current Prime Minister will not have recognised that so he will not only agree to financial information but probably that of the Inland Revenue, National Health, DVLC and data from all the Number Plate Recognition cameras as well in order to garner favour.

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Reciprocity

Does Europe have free access to US financial data? Perhaps that should be the price of letting them have free access to ours and see how they like it.

The insistence that contractors and subcontractors being bound by EU law falls over if you've got a server in the US because the authorities over there will just claim it's within their jurisdiction and to hell with EU law, at which point the subcontractor will be powerless to stop them unless there's a hard-coded deletion algorithm and no in-Us backup copies.

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Not so simple

The concern in the data-protection part is not about snooping by government but by corporations, since US privacy rules are nearly non-existent compared to Europe.

For the SWIFT financial data, the EU governments actually want it, as the US has data-mining capabilities the EU lacks. The tension is between the EU executive (the European Council, representing the heads of EU governments) and the European Parliament.

The fact Catherine Ashton was on the receiving end of surveillance as a human-rights campaigner should mean she is sympathetic to the MEPs' view, but she is constrained by her position and her need to work with EU member governments to get anything done.

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Grenade

So that's OK then

"So when a US firm brings data out of Europe it must still follow EU law. This is now extended so that the data is passed on to an outsourcer, that company must also follow EU law."

And of course the CIA wouldn't dream of flouting the requirements of some foreign Yurrupeens. Certainly not.

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Anonymous Coward

Does this explain ...

... all the junk, shite, unwanted, annoying and non-TPS aware marketing calls I get with a 'merkin accent?

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Do the Yanks know my bank balance?

I did not know this and it doesn't sound right to me. Is this a reciprocal arrangement? Of course, I suspect there will be the same old bleating of: "If you're doing nothing wrong, you've nothing to fear". Don't believe that for one moment.

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US getting our banking details

I don’t remember being told that every penny I spend could be subject to US Government assessment..

Of more concern is the data mining that could be applied to industry – the US could mine the transactions and work out who paid who what $ to derive contract costs. e.g. BAE may have a contract with an airport in Spain for radar – it would not take much effort for the US to work out that the payments from the airport authority to BAE represented the contract cost and tell Boeing. Next time a US corporation bids for similar work it does so at a commercial advantage.

The EU should say “Non” and only release information when compelling evidence is submitted and scrutinised inside the EU by accountable people.

The horse has bolted of course as every $ we spend on our credit cards is monitored in the US anyway – all the CC transactions ultimately are byAmex/Visa/MasterCard who all have servers in the US so are all subject to FBI/CIA scrutiny - back to cash for me!!

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>US getting our banking details

BAe don't have to worry about that - GCHQ will already have handed over all the emails and phone calls about the contract to the US ahead of time.

They were caught doing this for a French Radar contract to Brazil 10years ago.

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Actually, there are a couple of payment trends..

"all the CC transactions ultimately are byAmex/Visa/MasterCard who all have servers in the US so are all subject to FBI/CIA scrutiny"

Actually, the whole payment model is changing. I spoke to a couple of very senior bank people (IMHO one of the few that are worth their money) and they see the future of retail banking as peer to peer transactions. The stuff happening in Kenya is a good example.

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Anonymous Coward

Anything that show the Yanks the door...

Three cheers to the EU for anything that shows the USA and its corporate owners that they don't rule the world.

Though if it comes down to the UK deciding for itself, no doubt Mr Brown will dutifully be lowering his trousers and touching his toes...

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EU or English consultation

There is only an English text for this consultation.

Does it extend to other european citizen as well ?

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No, please, give them the data

.. just add a good bit of randomisation to it.

Alternatively, they will first have to supply US data for just as many years as they had access to the EU data so we're on an even basis - and with that I include flight information of anyone leaving the US.

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