A couple of months ago the EU concluded and agreement with the US called the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, or TFTP. It means that data about Europeans’ banking transactions will be transfered in bulk to the US government from the Swift bank data system.
”The European Commission has negotiated on behalf of the European Union an agreement that will increase the security of European citizens while at the same time fully respecting their rights to privacy and data protection”, said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs.
The Pirate Party and many other civil liberties organisations were critical of the agreement, since it means that data about private citizens who are not suspected of any crime is being handed out to the US police and security services. We pointed out that once the data has been transferred, EU authorities no longer have any control over how it is used.
The recent events around the Wikileaks whistle-blower site have highlighted the concerns we had when the Swift agreement was signed.
We have seen how the US government has put pressure on Mastercard, Visa, and Paypal to stop doing business with Wikileaks, and to confiscate Wikileaks’ assets. This has been done completely outside the law, before any charges of any crime have even been brought against Wikileaks.
Against this background, how do we know that the US does not use the Swift data to identify people in Europe who have donated money to Wikileaks?
As a member of the European Parliament, I have the right to ask questions to the Commission according Rule 117 of the Rules of Procedure. I have just submitted the following question:
What provisions are there in the recently concluded TFTP agreement to ensure that the US government will not use Swift data to track Europeans who donate money to Wikileaks, and how can the Commission guarantee the enforcement of these provisions?
But I have no doubt that Wikileaks will still be in the headlines then as well.