back to article Europe approves US mass data grab

Europe has signed a deal to hand over all bank transaction data to the US in order to help the ongoing war on terrorism. The SWIFT agreement was signed yesterday in Brussels by Spanish minister for home affairs Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and the US embassy's economic economic officer to the EU, Michael Dodman. Rubalcaba welcomed …

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  1. mittfh
    Big Brother

    Sledgehammer, meet nut...

    I wonder how long it will be before they decide that not all wannabe terrorists make monthly donations to Hamas are are involved with suspiciously large transactions to remote areas of Afghanistan or Pakistan, and therefore need to snoop on, say, our library transactions as well.

    No doubt if the hawks get their way, eventually the majority of the world will be subjected to the whims of the USA PATRIOT Act...

    <-- Well, surely that's got to be the most appropriate icon?!

  2. Peter Galbavy
    Big Brother

    ... and in return we get ?

    I am assuming that in return we get nothing ? Is there any reciprocal arrangement to see all those dodgy US drug deal bank transactions ? No ? Odd that...

    1. Paul 4

      Or

      Payments to Eta or the IRA from the US?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprising, really

    Clearest direct attack on European Citizens' right to privacy by the EU itself yet. In the form of giving it away. Giving it all away. On your behalf. Carry on european government.

  4. Zolkó

    bis repetita

    The European Parliament has already rejected this agreement before, so it's not entirely unreasonable to hope that they will reject it again.

    I mean, how does it help fighting terrorism to know that I have purchased fancy underwear over Internet ? Real terrorists pay in cash anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Making your opinions known

      Why not write to your MEP and tell them what you think. (find them here http://www.europarl.org.uk/section/your-meps/your-meps)

      I'm sure they'll be wanting your support at the next election.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bis repetitia

      There you have it. How can they know who's paying in cash without ruling out all the people using bank transfers?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Real terrorists

      From what I have seen, the real terrorists are state sponsored....by USA

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      bis repetita

      "The European Parliament has already rejected this agreement before, so it's not entirely unreasonable to hope that they will reject it again."

      What, like the Irish referendum on the EU constitution? Oh, hang on ....

  5. Isendel Steel
    Black Helicopters

    Reciprocal....

    Hmmm - I guess I would be wrong in assuming this will be ....

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    War on terror?

    WTF?

    That old chess nut.

    Surely no one believes in THAT any more?

    1. Gav
      Happy

      So old, he's dead now

      Bobby Fischer = chess nut.

      Species of tree = chestnut

      That old chestnut = expression you were looking for.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who represents ME?

    I dont give ANY company ANY rights to use or interogate ANY data held regarding me or my transactions. So who represents me in all this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I will, actually.

      I cannot thank both the US and the EU enough for shooting yet another hole in the VISA/MC network, just as I'm busy setting up a coalition to provide a new sort of credit card.

      All I need to do now is to host it in Liechtenstein or Switzerland (which, by the way, now has their OWN SWIFT centre, exactly because they don't let the EU decide on their privacy).

      Applaus - thank you, thank you. I reckon it'll take until early next year until we have it all running (still busy financing), but we'll kick the gory daylights out of a payment system that hasn't focused on customer needs since the last two decades. Whohahahaaa!

      (and before anyone mentions this will be used by terrorists - you obviously don't know that banks themselves are already handling that via KYC, all the US is doing is trying to get that data without any due process and any reciprocal arrangements - and they managed. Well done EU).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    anonymous money transfer

    If you don't want SWIFT to pass your details on to the USA you'd better try the very American, very anonymous Western Union (yes I know, there are some limitations).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so...

    what happens if i do something perfectly legal in the UK, but illegal in the US, say buy some Cuban cigars.

    Would i be facing extradition as my bank records would clearly show that i'd done it.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    "Excellent agreement"

    Or an attempt to salvage something (anything) from the Spanish presidency.

    You decide.

  11. jason 7 Silver badge

    Shake on it today.......

    to get some other agreement through with the US and then chuck it out tomorrow.

    I reckon thats whats going on.

    I hope so anyway.

  12. copsewood
    Big Brother

    Balance needed

    A good way to go after crime is to follow the money. For serious international crime this does need cross border police cooperation. Mass data transfers should not be needed to find out where a particular payment ended up. They also won't give you the information needed for law enforcement, if a couple of drug dealers meet in the toilet of a Caribbean casino and identical briefcases, one containing a large quantity of chips are transferred. So if these data transfers are neither necessary nor sufficient, what are they for ?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Not in my name

    So some bloody spaniard I've never heard of and certainly did not elect has decided to give my bank data to Obama's Ruskie spy-infested misadministration to do - what, exactly? Sheesh.

  14. Smooth Newt Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    European Parlliament will probably approve it

    Sadly the Parliament's three largest political blocks are all for it. There is a copy of the agreement at at http://www.statewatch.org/news/2010/jun/eu-usa-draft-swift-agreement-com-final-3.pdf It seems to be full of the useless "safeguards" you might expect with no actual teeth, like expensive penalties for breaches.

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Question is...

      *Why* are they all for it? What do they get out of handing EU citizen's financial data to a country with a long history of funding terrorists without reciprocal agreements?

      Perhaps, dare I say, "follow the money" might be rather apt here too?

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Flame

    Europetards

    Perhaps you might like to consider writing to your MEP and saying you think this is grossly disproportionate and asymmetrical, although perhaps using shorter words, ok?

    .

    1. The Original Ash

      Euro petards indeed

      For they will be foist upon theirs once this data is leaked (which it inevitably will be) and every MEP with a conflict of interest is publicly scrutinised and thrown out of office.

  16. David 45

    Rot

    Can't see as this is going to help in any way. There is already enough snooping on this planet without the Yanks knowing what I may have purchased in some seedy book store............oops.........what a give-away! Why America, anyway? What right have they to know what's going on in my bank account? Bad enough with the CRB check in the UK required for my job where they try and prise full bank details (account no. and sort code, no less) out of an applicant by pretending that "this will help speed your application" . Turns out that the particular section on the form (which also prompts for numerous other personal details, such as occupation status, i.e. renting or buying, etc; number of children and so on, does not have to be filled in. I told then in no uncertain terms in a phone call that the information was nothing to do with them, they had no business asking for it and they backed off. "Er....well....you don't have to fill that section in". THAT'S more like it! Exactly what our European "masters" and our new coalition government need to do in response to this draconian suggestion.

  17. Christoph
    Black Helicopters

    Won't do them much good

    It's not Europe who are their biggest commercial rivals anyway, it's China.

    So handing over all the transactions made by European firms to their US rivals isn't going to help them much with China.

    It will trash our chances of economic recovery though.

    1. asiaseen

      Except

      because details of ALL bank transactions are handed over, the US gets an awful lot of commercial intelligence regarding European business with the rest of the world.

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Cheap Crooks in Expensive Suits.

    This report shows that the American banking system is corrupt and criminal, so goodness knows what you can expect them to do with any information they are given ....... http://cryptogon.com/?p=16229

    And as we all now know, they are all into creative accounting and global fraud, for they are all supporters of the failing system.

  19. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    What breakthrough will they show for it ?

    I mean, all this is done in the name of fighting terrorism, right ?

    So this has to mean that, in a few months from now (yes, months - even terrorists have to eat), we'll have breaking news all over the headlines telling us that Bin Laden has finally been caught thanks to the European data unilaterally handed over to a foreign nation that has no business knowing what I bought this week, right ?

    RIGHT ?

    Because if we don't see these headlines, then WHAT BLOODY USE IS IT TO US ?

  20. Jean-Paul

    Why

    Now this is scary it is not just us in the UK with useless politicians that can't negotiate a good deal. I bet the us cracked open their Californian fizzy wine and laughed at us.

    Why oh why do we do this. I'm getting more and more put off by the us and starting to think some Arab states weren't wrong.

    What's wrong with making single requests pertinent to a single investigation where the us asks the question and we just say yes or no. No need to know more.

  21. DrM
    Alert

    Slippery Slope

    "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of

    tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." --William Pitt, The Younger (1759-1806), British statesman.

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety

    deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

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