According to a pressrelease dated 24 June 2010 the European Parliament may vote on the SWIFT-agreement on 7 July 2010. The agreement involves an obligation for the banking organisation SWIFT to transfer banking data to the USA in bulk, which includes banking data of ordinary, law-abiding citizens. The data will be stored for five years and processed within the U.S. Terrorism Finance Tracking Program (TFTP).
It appears as some of the conditions of the European Parliament to accept the agreement in the long term may worsen, not improve, the protection of banking data. Read the following section of the press release.
Thursday's discussion focused on how to put in place, on European soil, a system equivalent to the US Terrorism Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) so as avoid transferring data "in bulk" across the Atlantic. In a resolution passed on 5 May, the European Parliament had made the setting up of such a system a condition for approving the SWIFT agreement.In other words, the European Parliament has been succesful in pushing through a demand for a "EU-TFTP" where European state authorities would establish a database which would include banking data of law-abiding citizens in order to avoid transfer of the Atlantic. The logic of establishing a European counterpart to something that is held to be inappropriate when done in the U.S. is difficult to understand. The EU should instead examine a third alternative where European as well as American authorities may issue narrow requests for banking data to SWIFT. Banking data of ordinary, law-abiding citizens should not on a mass scale be transferred to and stored by state authorties.
The third alternative is not even being considered. The office of EU commissioner Cecilia Malmström has explained in the comments to her blog (translation from Swedish).
Read more in the EUobserver and Spiegelonline.
SWIFT does not have the capacity to deal with narrow requests. Instead of building such capacity within the private company SWIFT, the European Commission will examine the possibility to build such capacity managed by the EU, in accordance with the demands of the European Parliament.
Olof B I HAX I Jens O