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article imageEuropean Union values privacy, rebuts continued snooping by USA

By R. C. Camphausen     Feb 11, 2010 in Politics
A secretive US Treasury program that monitored all of Europe's financial transactions came to light in 2006, and now - in 2010 - the European Parliament has blocked continued US access to the data from the SWIFT money transfer system.
Both the Financial Times and the BBC were quick to announce, this afternoon, that the European Parliament made use of its new powers under the Lisbon Treaty and blocked an earlier agreement between the US and various individual EU governments.
For individuals or companies who never make international money transfers, SWIFT is a banking co-operative that handles millions of international transactions daily and worldwide, holding the data of some 8,000 banks operating in 200 countries and/or territories.
After 9/11, the US had - unknown to others - begun to monitor all financial transactions in the belief that this may aid the so-called war on terror, yet Europeans were less than happy when they found out - considering that the two political and economic blocs have different ideas about what constitutes sufficient privacy safeguards.
The US showed the importance with which one regarded the SWIFT data by having both Hillary Clinton (the secretary of State) and Timothy Geithner (the Treasury secretary) try to weigh in and convince the EU, but they did fail - in the end - and were unable to overcome doubts about the bill that had been proposed last year, agreeing that the US could continue it's monitoring of all transactions.
The whole situation came up right now because the banking co-operative had recently changed its location from the US to Europe, with the two main centers now being located in the Netherlands and in Switzerland.
The case also shows clearly how words and information are used to shape the readers perception. The BBC clearly states numbers when reporting about the vote for and against the ban on SWIFT data being used by the US, saying Lawmakers in Strasbourg voted 378-196 against the deal, with 31 abstentionswhile the Financial Times had this to say: But a slim majority of MEPs rallied against the bill, concerned that the agreement negotiated between the US and EU governments last year did too little to protect citizens’ privacy.
More about Privacy concerns, Swift, Privacy, Money, Transfer
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