EU Clears Bank Data Transfers to U.S.
Europe’s Council of Ministers agreed to a controversial deal on Monday allowing the U.S. access to European financial data, despite the privacy concerns of member states. The agreement, created to assist in U.S. anti-terror efforts, guarantees the U.S. continued access to the information collected by Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), concerning people with links to terrorist activities. While U.S. anti-terror authorities are told that their requests for information would have to be justified and narrowly focused, in instances where broad requests are made, “all relevant” data, including names, addresses, and account numbers, could be made available. Germany was one of several member states who took issue with the deal, arguing that there should be more privacy protection ensuring that only data linked to terrorism suspects is made available. The agreement went through, however, despite these concerns, one day before the Lisbon Treaty comes into effect, which would have made approval more difficult, as it would allow for more input from the European Parliament than is required currently.
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