EU refuses to reveal bank data transfers to US

Six months after the deal, no information is publically available

The European Commission and Europol have once again refused to reveal any information about how the Terrorist Finance Tracking Agreement between the European Union and the U.S. is working six months after it came into force.

The so-called 'Swift' accord, which allows the bulk transfer of European citizens' financial data to the U.S. authorities, came into force on Aug. 1 last year. In December, German representatives revealed that questions from the German data protection commissioner about how many requests the U.S. has made for data and how many, if any, have been approved, were not answered.

Europol said that questions could only be answered by the Commission. But the Commission said that 'neither the Commission nor Europol nor the member states have the power to bindingly interpret the agreement." Europol further indicated that such sensitive information is in any case top secret. The German delegation to the Council of Europe said that repeatedly sidestepping the questions is not helpful and will lead to growing public mistrust.

"If Europol are saying that the information requested is classified as "top secret" this is an abuse of the E.U.'s classified information system. The data requested is aggregated containing no personal or operational information. The agreement was negotiated in secret now it seems it is to be implemented in secret -- out of sight of governments, parliaments and people. This sets a very dangerous precedent for future agreements with the U.S.," said Tony Bunyan, director of civil liberties group, Statewatch.

One of the chief concerns about the five-year agreement when it was negotiated was protection of the data, which includes the names of bank account holders and their account numbers. Data can only be transferred with the approval of Europol, on a case-by-case basis and in the smallest possible quantities.

At the time, Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said that European citizens have been given a two-fold guarantee to "complete transparency as far as access and use of data are concerned; and, second, access to appropriate tools and redress procedures to ensure that privacy is protected."

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationsecurityeuropean commissiongovernmentprivacytrade

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?