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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentprivacyregulationtradeeuropean commission

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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?