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MEPs to US: Hands off our bank accounts

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At least someone is protecting our rights

Down with Westminster, long live Strasbourg!

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Yea and Amen

Unfortunately Westminster has completely failed to stand up to a governments, British and American on our behalf. Too busy claiming expenses, I suppose

Do the Yanks make their citizens data available to us? just a question

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No they don't

That was probably the worst part of the whole affair. It's one way, they get our data (and can use it for all sorts of things not just looking for terrorists) and we don't get theirs... crazy.. nearly as crazy as the one way extradition agreement where they can extradite people from the uk and we can't get at theirs... our government is great...

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Wow!

Well done MEPs, nice to see a bit of backbone showing.

Now we get to watch Brown agree to let UK banks give their data to the US despite the EU DP laws.

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Grenade

Hooray

Not so much America....Fuck Yeah

But America....Fuck You

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Uhh... Explain how full bank account information helps...

...*THEM* to catch "terrorists" (scare quotes intentional) given their apparent lack of consideration for foreign governments who provide intel.

Additionally, given numerous modern terrorist groups were US funded in the past (i.e. Taliban), it makes sense that such sharing - if it is to continue - should absolutely be bi-directional with no strings.

IT angle? We can see from where Google gets its data privacy attitude...

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Black Helicopters

...easy peasy, tax evasion.

*THEY* want to catch "tax evaders" and "tax avoiders" too, or maybe more than "terrorists". You know US citizens are subject to tax on total worldwide income? Even if they are expatriates who are non-resident in USA.

Also people who deal with US can be liable for US tax, say for example you buy US shares or do some freelance work for an American company -- hands up if you have the IRS as well as HMRC to deal with. :'(

This is only going to get worse. The OECD has a goal of sharing global tax information, historically the USA has predictably been against this (information flow, only works one way doesn't it?) but the Obama administration may actually sign them up to this too.

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Anonymous Coward

About time

Maybe our government should start asking for the bank account details of americans that supported the IRA under the guise of looking for terrorists, see how fast it ends up in an american court as infringment on their privacy......

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War on terrorism?

What war on terrorism - the US still allow their citizens to donate money to blow up police in NI and let convicted IRA killers walk their streets while refusing to sign their side of the agreement that lets them pluck autistic hackers over for up to 35 years in jail for the crime of 'showing us up'

There is no war on terrorism - its just a game to see how low our government will bend over .

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IT Angle

Real life examples

At a breakfast team-meeting in New York (after 9/11 but before 7/7) my American colleagues were talking about "terrorists" and exclaiming that no-one else knew what it was like to have attacks on their city. I pointed out that my city, London, had had many terrorists attacks over the years, to be met with blank expressions. "You know, the IRA" says I, without blinking the guy sat next to me said "The IRA aren't terrorists, they're freedom fighters" and then him and his boss proceeded to tell us how they were of Irish descent (one had a single grandparent from Ireland, the other a great-grandparent) and how they went to Irish pubs and gave money to IRA supporters. I was gob-smacked.

One of my Irish friends hates going to New York, he keeps being called a "traitor" by 'Irish Americans' because he's not an IRA supporter. They talk about "the old country", so he asks "Have you every been to Ireland? Have your parents ever been to Ireland?" and in many cases "Have your grandparents ever been to Ireland" only to be answered with negatives; but they berate him because him and his kind (regular Irish citizens) are "traitors to the cause" whereas they who might have a distant relative who once came from Ireland are not.

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Anonymous Coward

Privacy

So much for privacy! the US has access to my bank account details? what next? credit card details, Biometric data? the 'national identity database? where does it end? I agree with anon above.... hmmm....

Reminds me of a quote I heard recently:

To him that you tell your secret you resign your liberty.

Good for the EU....lets hope the UK stands up for our rights!

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Troll

You're our only hope...

... geordie broon.

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Surely

they have your Barclaycard statement whenever you fly there.

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FAIL

get the facts straight

its not all bank statements for goodness sakes, please at least read the relevant documents before spreading misinformation. It is only the data arising out of international bank transfers using the swift system.

Details of the £10k I transfered to Pakistan is included, but my domestic bank transactions are not under the SWIFT system as they never see them, only the international transfers.

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Grenade

...can you prove

this negative ?

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Re: get the facts straight

If this hadn't been challenged, how long before domestic transactions would have been requested under the guise of looking for terrorists.

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Anonymous Coward

SWIFT

"Details of the £10k I transfered to Pakistan is included, but my domestic bank transactions are not under the SWIFT system as they never see them, only the international transfers."

No, domestic transfers via SWIFT are also included, internal EU transfers via SWIFT. Internal transfers in the EEA zone.

Not only that, but all payments made by EU companies to non EU suppliers, are handed the USA. So the price an EU country pays for goods from China is documented to the USA.

Since the cost of a terrorist attack is pocket change, there could never be a justification for this. The cost of a tube ticket and a bag of fertlizer never had to be sent by SWIFT, it could be carried in small cash.

And of course if Gordon the gopher is in favour of this, then he's likely let them have BACS data too, so your domestic transactions are likely sent to the US too. This is legal (and can be done secretly) under their new laws.

If you booked a hotel on holiday and sent them a payment, that is listed. Banks like Citibank gave themselves the right to hand your private data over after SWIFT was caught, and Gordon didn't bat an eyelid:

http://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/banking/info/termsandconditions/general.htm?merchant=citi

"29. How we use your personal information and who we share it with...We may transfer your information to...to regulators, authorities and law enforcement agencies in other countries (including countries outside the European Economic Area having less stringent data protection requirements than those within it) if the disclosure is required by the laws or regulatory rules of those countries."

That's coded legal language for "you give up your EU data protection right". Since your UK transactions are none of the US's business, just because you bank with Citibank, yet Citibanks terms of service say otherwise.

So it's easy to pretend that only terrorists funded from Pakistan are included, but that's not the reality.

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Anonymous Coward

repply to anon @1657

yes true all SWIFT transactions are covered by this but only SWIFT transactions, the article suggests your bank statements are passed using this method. They are not. I have never come across domestic swift transactions but I accept that these are potentially covered too.

The statements info might be transfered by other means but not this one. As for the Citibank terms and conditions they are a joke and anyone who agrees to them should really think again. Not all banks do this and even if they were it is very unlikely the terms would really supply the 'informed consent' they seek to obtain by putting it in the TandC so the information commissioner may still have something to say about it.

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Anonymous Coward

That's why...

You don't do your daily banking with a US bank. :-)

Besides, since some of them do exactly what Lehman Bros did (using the money in the UK account after hours for US business), I wouldn't want them to have my money.

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RE: get the facts straight

If you work outside the UK but have a UK bank account then they can look at them.

Hell, if you work just across the border in some other country (ie live in France, work in Luxembourg) then they can look at them too.

I'm not saying that's a good thing, far from it but we don't get to see theirs do we?

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don't think so...

much more than just international transfers go through swift...

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Paris Hilton

Citibank's Terms and Conditions

the t&c's you quote violate uk and eu data protection law. these say quite clearly that personal data cannot be exported to a country that does not have data protection laws that are at least as good as those in the uk/eu. if that country doesn't have suitable laws the data can be exported provided the recipient is bound by a contract that obliges them to follow eu/uk data protection law.

citibank are taking the piss. you should make a complaint to the information commissioner. and take your business elswhere.

paris icon because she knows a thing or two about the eu's model clauses even though she think's they're about what happens at fashion shows instead of data protection.

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The IRA?

Down with Westminster, long live Strasbourg!

Hmm, Wonder if this is some form of underhanded method of making the EU parlement more palatable to UK voters by getting them to reverse the stupid decisions B-Liar and Brown has made. (Not that i expect the Conservatives would have resisted bending over and taking one for the US either)

Technically the IRA should never have been funded from the US, as its totally against US law, however, these laws only seemed to get enforced properly after 9/11. I suspect one of the reasons that the Peace process never totally broke down is because both sides knew they would struggle to get any more money out of the US, and that in any contest of Harsh language, the Paisley family got Gerry Addams beat into a cocked hat.

The Splinter groups dont seem to have been able to keep up anything like the levels of anarchy the IRA and the loyalists used to.

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Not needed when the IRA were blowing stuff up in the UK

But blow some stuff up in the *US* and watch the collective US under garments fill up.

The first act of the European Parliment having some control over foreign policy seems like quite a good one to me. Let's hope its future ones are as good.

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winrar

Dear MEPs,

Thank you kindly for showing some backbone and doing the right thing.

Sincerely,

The People of Europe.

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Grenade

the most intersting thing in the story, for me was

"Earlier this week the US was threatening to make data sharing agreements with individual countries if the EC failed to reach agreement. The difficulty for the US is that individual nations remain bound by EC data protection regulations."

i.e. when Europe was a collection of miscellaneous countries the US could individually bully them around. But now they've clubbed together into a more organised (dare I say "federal") entity, they can stand up for themselves.

This is why Uncle Sam is so opposed to a Pan-African union, and to the South American countries banding together.

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Black Helicopters

The pan-Africa and pan-SA unions are

not the only unions the merkins are against - they have made it publicly clear they are against a federated European Union, which makes me want it even more!

As someone else above said, the EU is painted in a bad light in the UK but if it wasn't for them, working regulations would be much poorer in the UK (20 days holiday per year anyone?)

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Yep

I liked that statement. They really don't seem to know or understand how the system works do they?

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Happy

...I must admit

I *like* it when the US runs scared of a more integrated Europe.

Of course a more integrated Europe can out bargain and out buy the US as well.

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Never understood

why the working class in particular have such a down on the EC when its probably the only thing standing between them & a police state. I mean, joking about France & Germany & their roles in various wars is all very jolly, but don't take it seriously you mugs, that's just what the Murdochs & Camerons of the world have told you to do.

(OT PS Stop "reading" the Sun as well you gimps)

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Coat

@kissingthecarpet

Shush you. Your sort will be burnt at the stake after The People's Dave and his lovely wife Rupert Murdoch get in, and not a moment too soon!

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g e

One vote for...

"Sun reader" as oxymoron of the day

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Anonymous Coward

Gimps and mugs

I think the word you're looking for is "Britards": people who think The Sun is a newspaper and that Murdoch's flavour of the month offers anything more than they did last time they were in power.

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Very good!

Very good, and I say this as an American. Anything that reduces by even a little the flow of what ought to be private information into the insatiable maw of the US government's "intelligence" monster is excellent news.

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Well Done EC!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NFT

(well maybe some)

P.S.

Well Fucking DONE!

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Well done the European Parliament

Lest we forget, the only elected EU body

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Anonymous Coward

easy dirt on most MP's

My understanding is that, given the colourful character of the majority of MP's, there will inevitably be some financial transaction or other that they would prefer to keep quiet about.

We've all seen it - expenses, soft loans, donations etc.

If they ever become a problem to the USA's aims and <ahem> aspirations, its not difficult to get them back into line with a little tap on the shoulder and a dark secret.

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Question

So is this the first time that the Council of Ministers doesn't get to overrule the European Parliament like what they normally do whenever MEPs make anything approaching a sensible decision?

If so, then hoorah! It's always amused me in the horrified onlooker who can't do anything about it sense of the word that the least democratic wings of the EU have veto power over the democratic bit, and it's the democratic side that gets all the criticism aimed at it.

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? Post 911

Even post 911 I've heard senior US politicians arguing that there are major differences between the Irish who they classify as "Freedom Fighters" and Arabs who don't vote for them and are therefore terrorists. Even post 911 there is still a faction within the US who feel that fighting the British is OK as long as you don't fight Uncle Sam.

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Black Helicopters

What about businesses?

There might be quite a lot of industrial espionage value in knowing all of a business's international payments. I wonder how many USA businesses are gaining a commercial advantage courtesy of whispers from the USA government's access to this bank transfer information?

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Black Helicopters

Not news

The US is reasonably open that they pass commercially sensitive info to US corporations for financial gain, to be fair to them. Their espionage benefits people like Boeing quite a lot.

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Anonymous Coward

A possible Fix

1. Ban SWIFT from internal EU transfers, SEPA will soon cover other currencies other than the EURO anyway. They can all go via SEPA, so UK, and all EEA zone countries can soon get their EU data protection rights via SEPA too.

2. Create a SEPA to SWIFT bridge, and charge a fee, e.g. 30 euros. Non EU countries need to send via the bridge if they want to sent via SWIFT.

3. Sign agreements with third countries to directly use SEPA, so they no longer need the bridge.

USA will talk a lot of terrorist crap, but that's just because a EURO world currency is such a threat to US$. But with the Arabs creating their own currency for oil trading, US$ has no future anyway. Better that Euro dominates than we mince around in some sort of 'be nice to Obama' fudge.

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Anonymous Coward

SWIFT in the EU

SWIFT in the EU is only used when an IBAN is not available. All Euro-denominated transfers are handled via a system that does not operate through SWIFT.

:-)

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<untitled>

...better that the Euro dominates than we lose out yet again as the dollar goes even further down the toilet...

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Finally

Now if we could only have someone in the U.S. slap our nosy uncle back into his rightful place. It's good to see our local "sobriety" checkpoints won't be doing the international banking circuit.

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Grenade

Helping hands

Nice to see the rich in Europe helping the rich in the US hide the swag.

Good to see all of that bonus money going to good use.

Funny that Switzerland was mentioned as they must have been losing the swag laundering/hiding business to the Philippines, Macau, etc.

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Big Brother

I say...

...you are ALL terrorists in here!

We should give bank details and should also bend over for our protectors (and saviors in all Hollywood films) the Americans!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J0ikG4XpTs

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thanks to the Lisbon treaty

MEPs having the power to do this is because of the Treaty of Lisbon coming into force a few months ago.

So it's not all bad then, is it?

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting turn of events..

Interesting, has anyone realised that AFAIK, by placing the servers in Switzerland they are actually NOT under EU law, but under both Swiss data protection and bank secrecy?

Could get interesting, it's not like the Swiss like the US very much now..

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Big Brother

Missing the point

I think the point here is being missed. The reason that the US was able to "snoop" on SWIFT data since 2001 was due to the Patriot Act.

The point is that SWIFT has been mirroring all their data between it's site in Belgium and in the US. Once those data are on US soil, they are subject to the Patriot act, regardless of the nature of the underlying financial transaction they represent.

Same applies to Gmail, Google Apps, Salesforce etc etc. Once your data is on US soil, it's privacy is questionable since the Patriot Act [probably] supercedes even the Safe Harbor (sic) protocols.

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