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Settlement Near On SWIFT Banking And Terror Checks …

  • July 6th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

espionage-wikipedia.jpgThe European Parliament moved close this week (5.7.10) to finalising a long-running problem with the transfer of banking information to the United States, under scrutiny of US anti-terrorism agencies.

SWIFT SYSTEM AND PRIVACY PROTECTION

European Union representatives have been concerned with civil liberties aspects of the SWIFT bank transfers system.

A statement from the Civil Liberties Committee of the Parliament says that it has voted overwhelmingly for a new version of the system, SWIFT II, resurrecting the plan after earlier failures to get it through the full parliament.

It has been sent back there now for an immediate decision, to begin its passage into law – committee members saying they were confident that wide cross-party backing would see it go through.

More from the Committee statement:

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“The key to the deal …  is the eventual elimination of ‘bulk’ data transfers.

“In exchange for backing the agreement, MEPs won an undertaking that work on setting up an EU equivalent to the US ‘Terrorism Finance Tracking Program’ (TFTP), which would preclude the need for bulk data transfers, will start within 12 months.

“Once Europe has a system enabling it to analyse data on its own territory, it need only transfer data relating to a specific terrorist track.

EUROPOL INVOLVED

“Another innovation of the draft agreement is that it empowers the EU’s ‘Europol’ criminal intelligence agency, based in the Hague, to block data transfers to the USA.

“Europol will have to check that every data transfer request by the US Treasury is justified by counter-terrorism needs and that the volume of data requested is as small as possible.,,”

INDEPENDENT SUPERVISORS

“The new version of the agreement also provides that the use of data by the Americans, which must be exclusively for counter-terrorism purposes, is to be supervised by a group of independent inspectors, including someone appointed by the European Commission.

“This person will be entitled to request justification before any data is used and to block any searches he or she considers illegitimate.

“The agreement prohibits the US TFTP from engaging in data mining or any other type of algorithmic or automated profiling or computer filtering.

“Any searches of SWIFT data will have to be based on existing information showing that the object of the search relates to terrorism or terrorism finance.

RIGHT OF REDRESS FOR CITIZENS

“In February 2010, after rejecting the previous agreement, MEPs demanded that European citizens should be guaranteed the same judicial redress procedures as those applied to data held on the territory of the European Union, and in particular payment of compensation in cases of illegal processing of personal data. “

“They pointed out that the US Privacy Act, which protects US citizens against such misuse, does not protect European citizens who might become victims of such misuse on American soil.

“The new proposal says this time that US law must provide a right of redress, regardless of nationality.”

New restrictions will apply also to data retention and deletion.

Reference

European Parliament, Brussels, “SWIFT II: Civil Liberties Committee approves draft agreement”, 5.7.10. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/ …, (6.7.10).

Picture  commons.wikipedia

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