back to article Terror data handover seriously flawed

The European Union has redrafted its agreement with the US Treasury which requires Europe’s financial institutions to transfer details of global financial transactions to the US. The revised Draft Agreement is to be put to the European Parliament in July for approval, despite a text containing significant privacy defects and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America is the Rome of today.

    And Al Qaeda is Hannibal.

    You can just walk into a country anytime you like and blow up have a major city. It's not against the laws of physics.

    However, it would be a big mistake to assume the response would be anything other than identical to Rome's.

    If I were AQ I'd just give up now.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Very intersting

      And your point is?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is it not the spirit of the law that matters then? I find it hard to understand your analogy of the firemens strike to what we all understand to be a terroist act, like say, for example, Bloody Sunday, although as so rightly pointed out, depending on your point of view.

    Anyway, to me it makes no difference, my 24 pence isn't going to fund very much of anything, so the Yanks are more than welcome to invest many man hours at great expense into investigated what I do with it.

    1. Thomas 18


      1. Just because it doesn't apply to you doesn't mean you shouldn't care. Think of your friends and family or the possibility that faulty information is shared and your wrongly accused.

      2. The writer was highlighting the lack of specificity in the definition of terrorism. The 3 rules (damage property OR risk life) AND (intended to coerce government to action or inaction) are way too broad and encompass things such as industrial action which nobody would reasonably consider terrorism. The definition is therefore wrong.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Hang on a minute

      I guess that you don't take photographs then?

      The spirit of the anti-terrorism laws is that they stop "terrorism" from affecting people's way of life. The fact is that the anti-terrorism laws are reportedly being used to actually terrorise people and interfere with their lives.

      As for your 24p, I guess it was given to you by the company you work for? How do they feel about the US seeing all of their bank transactions? Will you be out of work if they lose their next contract to a US company (See EADS wins the new tanker refueling contract with the US DoD, then it doesn't for an example of how US interests are protected)

    3. Christoph

      Spirit of the law?

      No, the spirit of the law (any law) is irrelevant. The law is what the text of the law says. If the law as drafted says that the US can demand personal information on strikers then the US can do that.

      This is fundamental. You can't tweak the meaning of a law to be what you want it to mean, you have to go by the specific text.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Lol are you five?

      The spirit of the law is meaningless, all that matters is the word of the law, and that is what lawyers/governments/security forces/other agencies will use to lever their desires.

  3. Sir Runcible Spoon


    Can you imagine the EU asking for banking details relating to specific US 'black ops' ? - I'm sure that would work.

    Tell me, does the US also supply the vaseline - or do we have to pay for that ourselves too?

    Starting to understand how the rest of the world feels about US foreign policy - it feels like we are on the periphery now rather than bosom buddies, and boy can you feel the difference.

    Good article.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I doubt...

      I doubt the US could give any kind of banking details for anything!

      The current economic situation has shown they have little to no idea what's happening with money!

    2. Reg Sim

      and boy can you feel the difference.

      "Tell me, does the US also supply the vaseline - or do we have to pay for that ourselves too?

      Starting to understand how the rest of the world feels about US foreign policy - it feels like we are on the periphery now rather than bosom buddies, and boy can you feel the difference."

      Well of course we can feel the diffrence, before they would of paid for the vaseline. I belive its 29p a pot.

  4. Thomas 18


    How can you possibly have a 2 tier system with one set of rules applying to us (EU) and one to them (US). It's the same deal as the extradition treaties and its completely retarded. Who writes these things and how do they explain this shit away to the rest of the writers.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      How ?

      Easy. Just have a bunch of administrative officials in highly paid positions with no opinion of their own. Enter Uncle Sam who flashes bright white teeth, a winning smile and charms everyone and their wife (especially the wives) off their feet.

      No promises made, nothing substantial obtained, some money, sorry "gifts" exchange hands, VIP travel abounds, and there you go, a one-sided deal to which nobody on our side has the balls to stand up to.

      Other version : a stern Uncle Sam enters the room with a load of manila envelopes, looks at all the men present and says "If any of you dares to not approve this deal, I'll just have to publish the damning information I have on those who don't". Cue angry look and off he goes; leaving quaking pencil pushers fretting over whether or not they'll still have their precious limousines next week.

      Mix and match at your leisure, but it all boils down to nobody having any balls on our side.


  5. David Neil
    Thumb Down

    @AC 9:17

    The point is the agreement has almost no oversight in terms of what the US can ask for, therefore if they decide they regard strikers in the EU as terrorists, they just submit a blanket request and it's given up.

    Given the US are just as guilty as the French in terms of supplying domestic companies access to intelligence where it may better the US national interest how long before the Lockheeds and Boeings have access to the banking transactions of every European competitor.

  6. Red Bren

    Surely not?

    Uncle Sam requires other nations to sacrifice citizens rights in a manner the US would never permit for its own?

    1. Daniel 1

      Look on the bright side

      Once the US Secret service gets hold of the data, they'll put it on their own computers - and then the entire world will be able to read it!

  7. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    Icelandic "terrorism"

    A flexible definition of "terrorism" was certainly employed in order to freeze Icelandic assets in the UK, although the Icelandic PM wasn't too happy about effectively being called a terrorist.

  8. Paul Kinsler

    "one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter"

    I have always found this an annoyingly sloppy statement, which confuses two distinct concepts: Methods and aims are not the same thing!

    Specifically, "terrorist" refers to methods used, "freedom fighter" refers to political aims.

    A freedom fighter might (or might not) choose to use terrorism as a means to achieve freedom for their chosen constituency. Likewise, a group of repressive fascists might use terror to achieve their aim of a totalitarian state. Then again, they might sneakily use cleverly arranged and predominantly peaceful demonstrations.

    Methods and aims are not the same thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Methods and aims,not that easy.

      "Methods and aims are not the same thing."

      Consider Israel, they use terror to keep occupied country and deep down they would like to expand it too (at any cost).

      Terrorists, yes, more and more so, in my oppinion.

      So where is the difference between methods and aims.

      So, are their neighbors freedom fighters then, not so sure, but less and less, not so sure.

      Any way this article claimed the word terrorist is just too "floppy" to be used without a more exact definition. And I agree on that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Specifically, "terrorist" refers to methods used, "freedom fighter" refers to political aims.

      I am confused now. So when Uncle Sam sends in their troops to stir things up (or convinces the locals to start a civil war), then they are "freedom fighters" because their motivation is to change the government?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Freedom fighting around the world.

        "I am confused now. So when Uncle Sam sends in their troops to stir things up (or convinces the locals to start a civil war), then they are "freedom fighters" because their motivation is to change the government?"

        Of course they are freedom fighters. Americans always fight for freedom. Big smiles and polished boots. Spreading truth, democracy and capitalism like God intended. Oh, you mean freedom fighter as in "the freedom of non Americans." Perhaps notsomuch. But if they clean up their acts, they’ll be Americans one day too! You just wait and see; once we bring democracy to them, they’ll be just like Americans!

        Hey listen there sonny, have you seen the world? Well what if I told you that you could...

  9. John 211

    The SWIFT Diode

    Can I put forward a suggestion that the agreement be henceforth known as the SWIFT Diode.

  10. Neal 5

    Hmmmmmmmm again

    Too right, if it doesn't apply to me, then why should I worry. If it applies to someone else that I may or may not know or even care about,then maybe the begging question that needs to be answered is, what are they/have they been doing/done to warrant the attention in the first place.

    Way too many hypocriticalopinions to even consider some worthy of response.

    The point about industrial action not being considered as a terrorist act by anyone is true,in fact so true, why include it in the analogy of a striker to a terrorist, especially in the case of a group of people who's primary role is to save life. A far better analogy would be MP's attitude to expenses, especially in the light of them now not being able to board the gravy train so frequently.

    And, if you still think it's all one way, in favour of the US, try looking at some of the crap the EU has forced on the rest of the world. An easy example being, just how bent a banana can be to be sold in the EU. And how many people does that affect, and more to the point, how many bananas are actually grown in the EU. As always the poor suffer so YOU can eat.

    Also nobody has quantified why it's in the US's favour, unless the accusation you are levelling is that US citizens are exempt from this act also. BLACK OPS being the preserve solely of the Americans too, I take it then, I will bow to your greater naivety on that one.

    1. kissingthecarpet

      2 Things

      One - What do you mean by the "begging question" - are you one of those half-literate types who think "begs the question" means "ask the question" ?

      Two - Re: "Too right" etc - I refer you to Pastor Martin Niemöller's famous quotation . Google it if you've never heard of him.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @Hmmmmmmmm again

      Did you actually read the article! It's in the US's favour because there are different rules for when the EU makes a request for information from the US as for when the US makes a request for information from the EU. If it was balanced the same criteria would applied either way - or am I being naive!!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      With regards to Bananas

      Quite off topic really, but...

      The note about bananas is an interesting one - it's consumer driven. Class I banana's have to conform to a defined range of appearence. Class II are the same as Class I but don't have the same perfect credentials.

      Supermarkets quote that they mainly sell Class I types as that is what we demand from them. We (the public) have forced the whole 'straight banana' on the world - not the EU, they simply provided a measure to grade fruits to. If everyone brought class II fruits it would remove the snobbery of the classes that has been applied by us.

      Admittely supermarkets like the class I scheme as it's easier to pack making thier shipping density better, but they are only suppliers to our demand.

      Just thought I'd mention that....

    4. SynnerCal

      Re: Hmmm again (brain bypass?)

      >"Too right, if it doesn't apply to me, then why should I worry."

      Because it _does_ apply to you - take off the UKIP-flavoured spec's for one moment and read the damned article!!! As described therein the US can just grab a block of data and go on what the local nick term a "fishing expedition".

      So - just for the sake of argument - you contributed £20 towards the humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza. That makes you anti-Israeli, therefore pro-Palestinian, and consequentially obviously a supporter of Hamas, Al-Queda etc (said with sarcasm) => a terrorist. See how the reasoning can go... (Remember these are the same US "justice" organisations responsible for Gitmo, rendition, etc).

      >"Also nobody has quantified why it's in the US's favour, unless the accusation you are levelling is that US citizens are exempt from this act also. "

      Doh! US citizens aren't exempt - but if (as a member of the EU plod) you want to check on Mahmoud from Ploughkeepsie then you've got to approach the US authorities and say you want his records (or a subset thereof). On the other hand, your FBI guy can just say "gimme all the records for folks in Peterborough" and get them. Or at least that's my reading of the information given in the article.

      Like most posters on this topic, I'm all in favour of exchange of financial information EU-US - providing it's on an equal footing, and justified to some independent authority (the judiciary). The currently proposed very _un_equal arrangement, where it would appear that data can be sought "on a whim" is not one I would feel even slightly comfortable with. And I'm willing to bet that most American's would feel the same - certainly the one's I speak to are getting uneasy with the amount of "big brother" going on over there.

      I dare say that they'll be a flood of the usual apologists claiming that "you've nothing to fear, if you've nothing to hide" and welcoming this latest travesty. Yet I'm willing to bet those same folks would object to a government CCTV installation in their house - double standards!

    5. Red Bren

      2 more things

      1. The banana regulation was an overblown MYTH! It doesn't matter how many times you repeat it, it doesn't make it true.

      2. Yes, the EU does impose regulations on trade, but so does the US, some legal, such as Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, some illegal, such as the bans on internet gambling or trading with Cuba.

  11. James Micallef Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Bloody EU commission

    That is exactly why deals of this type should be signed off by the EU parliament, not by the commission. 100% reciprocity or no play ball

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Expect this to pass unnoticed

    With our new bunch of Muppets running the show (after-all - look how incredibly weak they have been standing up to Obama over BP being close to killed in the stock markets ... over an itsy bitsy oil leak that is still less than a 10th of the size of Kuwait leak - which we did bugger all about to prevent either ... theme?), we can with 100% certainty expect this to become law in the UK in double quick time.

    We seriously need a country where this lot of crap is just shredded before even making it to our shores.

    1. It wasnt me

      It never does reach our shores

      It doesnt have to. The European commision keep it brussels, and we just bend over in the comfort of our own home.

  13. Alan Firminger


    The perpose of legislation is to permit and to control the actions of government.

    Every government that gets itself in a hole will use whatever tools are available. An excellent example is the use of anti-terrorist legislation to grab Iceland's money. That is the system. So legislators must be precise.

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    For all European Reg readers

    There is a *vote* on this coming up.

    Perhaps its time *all* European Reg readers put pen to paper and reminded their "representatives" that this is *grossly* asymmetric, rather like the UK/US extradition treaty which (the Home Office seems to having second thoughts on.

    Just a thought.

    "Take back your government" is not just for Merkins.

  15. Asgard
    Big Brother

    Oh great a subversion law and the US get to hammer everyone in the whole of Europe senseless...

    @“acts of a person that ... are ... dangerous to human life or create a risk of damage to property ... and are reasonably believed to be committed with the aim of ... coercing a government to act or abstain from acting”.

    Ok so saying for example, "Here's £500 to buy protest banners against the government proposal for acts XYZ, meet in Hyde Park on Saturday" ... saying this is now more than enough to fulfill all criteria of this agreement. After all protests can "accidentally" lead to deaths (just ask Ian Tomlinson's family!) plus protests are against a government. This deal is literally turning legal protest into a way to hunt down and punish people for terrorist subversion against our rich and powerful overlords!

    FFS! ... why don't they just blind fold all of us, up against a wall and then get it over with!

    Plus hunting down terrorist subversives is one step away from treason law! i.e. "treason is the crime that covers some of the more serious acts of betrayal of one's sovereign or nation". Our rich and powerful overlords must be loving this deal, its a wet dream come true for them!

    @"Thus, the Agreement has the potential to transform law-abiding" ... "industrial disputes into “terrorists”"

    It looks like our arrogant overlords are determined to trigger a full scale revolution against their ever increasingly repressive rule over us all. The more they clamp down and seek to control us all, the more people they will force into increasing anger against them. How much of the public are they planning on pissing off before the whole of society can take no more! ... Reading the news these days is like watching a horrific disaster film in slow motion!

    This agreement will allow the government to hunt down protesters. Yet without the *freedom* to allow protests against any government (and for protesters to then be free to highlight mistakes made by that government) then that government ends up getting away with whatever it wants without ever having to listen to anyone. With a law that allows them to hunt down and punish protesters as terrorists!, we then take a massive step towards an outright totalitarian state.

    @“I am sure that the intent of this Draft Agreement is currently not to do this “

    Yeah right and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (starting on 9th February 2000 – i.e. note, before 9/11) wasn't intended to allow the state to spy on school catchment area allocation and rubbish dumpers!, but once RIPA was law, “its the law” ((tm) Judge Dredd style) and then people who want to use the law to control (which is why the law is the law) then use the power of the law, to the fullest extent of the law. So this new agreement will be abused, because its written into law!

    Great so now our Police State gets a way to hunt down, punish and so silence subversion as if they are terrorists, which is one step from treason!, but oh we can trust them not to use that law, yes right like every other law they have brought in and then abused.

    Plus how the hell is the EU so fucking stupid that it cannot see the huge industrial espionage implications of this one sided law. Or far more likely, we have some EU representatives who are criminally corrupt enough to be allowing this into law in return for some big bribes. The US will use spying on EU business transactions to then allow US businesses to undercut future deals. There is absolutely no doubt in that, because the US has been *caught* doing that before!

    This agreement is literally sociopathic!

    We need a massive criminal investigation now, looking into who is behind this one sided twisted deal, to workout who on the EU side is guilty of literally treason against us all and then throw them in jail before this nightmare is allowed to get any worse.

  16. Neal 5

    Again Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm Again

    Touche guys/gals, obviously a few pent up represive complexs going on there. In my defense, I must say that I'm only 2/3 rds the way through a litre of cheap vodka, maybe by the time I'm equi-distant through the next I'll be able to think at your levels, although I must say that gouging a hole through the side of my head might speed that process up.

    At Red Bren, you sir are an ass. The legislation in this article is exactly the same, if you actually read to the end of the article before flipping into the comments and engaging the amoeba. I must compliment you on your ability to multitask, it must be very demanding having to breath and engage in another activity at the same time.

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