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EP ditches US SWIFT deal on bank data over privacy


brussels bureau

EP ditches US SWIFT deal on bank data over privacy

An EU deal with the US has been judged not good enough for the European Parliament — the so-called SWIFT agreement on sharing bank data. This would have meant exposing ordinary Europeans’ accounts to American anti-terrorist investigators.

A nine-month interim agreement went into force provisionally at the start of this month. But Liberal, Socialist and Green euro-MPs opposed it. They said the correct balance between security and the protection of civil liberties was missing.

This means Washington, until it can negotiate a permanent agreement with the EU, will have to seek other ways to access information on money transfers in Europe — data it says is vital to track terrorist suspects.

Washington previously had access to the data, collected by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which registers money transfers among states. EU diplomats say one way to regain access could be to seek bilateral agreements.

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brussels bureau

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