Friday, November 24, 2006

EU privacy commissioners strongly criticise SWIFT data transfers

Privacy International complained in June about the transfer of personal financial information by global banking consortium SWIFT to the US Treasury. The EU Working Party on data protection has now come to a decision on these complaints, and they do not mince their words (via EDRI):

As far as the communication of personal data to the UST is concerned, the Working Party is of the opinion that the hidden, systematic, massive and long-term transfer of personal data by SWIFT to the UST in a confidential, non-transparent and systematic manner for years without effective legal grounds and without the possibility of independent control by public data protection supervisory authorities constitutes a violation of the fundamental European principles as regards data protection and is not in accordance with Belgian and European law. The existing international framework is already available with regard to the fight against terrorism. The possibilities already offered should be exploited while ensuring the required level of protection of fundamental rights.

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