Secrecy continues over banking data transferred to US by EU

Parliamentarians are not convinced by Europol’s claims of TFTP transparency

Details regarding the amount of private banking data being sent from the European Union to the U.S. Treasury Department are not forthcoming, raising concerns among European parliamentarians.

Since Aug. 1, 2010, the E.U. has allowed European citizens' financial data to be transferred to the U.S. under the Terrorist Finance Tracking Agreement (also known as the 'Swift' agreement) if the U.S. can "clearly substantiate the necessity of the data" in combating terrorism. Europol, Europe's police force, has been given the task of verifying whether requests from the U.S. Treasury Department meet these criteria. To date, all requests have done so, according to Europol.

However, despite confirming that 100 percent of requests have been complied with, Europol refused to say how many requests have been made. The organization said it had "recently comprehensively informed the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs about Europol's activities in the context of the implementation of the TFTP Agreement. This also included information on the requests verified so far."

But this was denied by members of the committee. "Europol told us they were unable to give us any figures. That is remarkable, as we were given figures in previous reports on the transfer of SWIFT data (notably the February 2010 one). It basically makes it impossible to verify if the agreement is being applied correctly," said Dutch Member of Parliament (MEP) and committee member Sophie in 't Veld.

"There is a clear reluctance within Europol to give full information. The atmosphere of secrecy and reluctance to be held accountable do not exactly contribute to a spirit of trust between the institutions, and the confidence that the agreement is at least implemented in accordance with the expectations of Parliament," she said.

"But the members of the committee -- as far as I can estimate -- did not feel informed to a satisfactory degree. Especially as far as the amount of transferred data is in question -- the information shared by Europol leaves us with two possible conclusions: either they do not share all available information with the Parliament or they truly do not have any clue. Both would be equally disturbing," added German MEP Alexander Alvaro, also on the civil liberties committee.

In December, German representatives to the Council of Europe revealed that similar questions from the German data protection commissioner were not answered.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Europolgovernment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?